As a professor and educator since 2003 both online and in person, I feel education is key to life. If I am not learning, I am not living. This course is the first of MANY to come - some will be free, some will require a small fee ($20 or $30) to sign up. This course is The Basics - all about getting back to "normal" after cancer, major life-changing diagnosis or other news like genetic predisposition to cancer... Watch the video below for a quick overview of the course.
As someone who is focused on helping others oh and who has helped people for over 20 years with resumes, career planning and more (seriously, check out my other small business, The Next Step), I feel that founding this nonprofit is what I am meant to do and grow.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 39 years old, I had just gotten a full time teaching job after subbing and being an adjunct for several years. Before that, I worked in NYC as a Vice President in financial services firms focusing on managing multimillion dollar projects (more about me here). I lost my job the day after my last chemotherapy and started sharing my story shortly after that, here, on this blog.
I shared everything, my story, my topless photos and more. I realized during my sharing that it was helping to heal me. Me, who had been so ashamed and so scared when I was diagnosed, was slowly becoming a voice of reason for myself and others. This blog is still read by over 1500-2000 people PER WEEK and for August alone, I have had over 9100 folks have been on my homepage of this nonprofit - not too shabby for zero dollars in marketing and all that.
This course has been a labor of love for me - I have created and launched countless online courses for other institutions and have done them quickly and efficiently. I am skilled at Moodle and BlackBoard - this was my first experience at creating a course that meant so much to me personally and professionally. I do hope you check it out - I had a soft launch the day before I left for vacation (which I am still on, by the way - more on that later)… and I already have 4 students logged in and learning with me...
I am debating if this course is "too much". It is built like a light college course - there are 3 sections with video and "assignments" which are really just discussion based assignments with review and help from me - a career expert, a cancer survivor, an author and a mom...
Life is all about Balance and this organization, Balance After Cancer, is my way of trying to help others find their "new normal".
The One Boobed Member of Destiny's Child or My Survivor Speech at the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Staten Island Kick Off Event...
About Making Strides...
Last August, I signed up to walk in the local Making Strides walk - I had never raised money before nor had I ever walked before for a cause. I had spent the last couple of years raising my kids and giving money if and when I was asked for it but had not ever done anything like a walk.
So I went to last years kick off with my daughter and I had a lot less hair and a totally weird experience with calling myself a survivor. I walked in to register and got a sash calling me a survivor, clapped in by a local cheerleading team, got photographed and a flower and heard the speaker Holly Bonner speak about her story, which had us all in tears of her bravery and strength and then I thought to myself 2 things:
1- I wanted to be a pacesetter and raise more than 2500 but it was a crazy thought and one I had no clue how to execute on but I knew I wanted to do it and
2-I wanted to be the speaker like Holly and share my story - which was just another crazy thought without any basis in reality - I had just started blogging and didn’t even really understand my own story yet or the power of my words...
But I was learning - I was sharing and meeting people from all over who were chatting with me, reading me, sharing me - cancer health magazine began to serialized my content and I had numbers going up and up for unique visitors, twitter followers and my favorite relationship builder instagram was growing and I recognized that maybe I did have a story to tell that people needed to hear,
Well, dear reader, (hey Charlotte Bronte thanks for that), I did it - I became a pacesetter and some extra on top and I was picked to be the survivor speaker at the event.
Whoa! If you watch the video you can just see how damn excited I was and how the American Cancer Society and their events put my kids fears at ease and showed me how to be a survivor.
The making strides event was amazing mc’d by the local office leader Kimberly Cantoni. We had amazing food, camaraderie and what unites us ignites us -
Lessons on just how far our donated dollars go to helping the American cancer society be sure that no one walks alone - with rides to treatment, lodging near cancer hospitals, look good feel good programs and more!
Soo think about walking - join my team if you’re in the NY area I’m Lili’s Team (as we try to come up with a different name )...
This is what I do in the time between.
I launched my first free webinar today sharing a little bit about how I plan on helping YOU (yes you) get back to whatever it is your "new" normal is - I have been sharing more and more via other websites about what it means to pick up the pieces after cancer drops a nuke in your life to figure out how to get "work ready" again and one piece I am really proud of is this one that I wrote for What Next Cancer's Blog which has been shared over 200 times already - help me share it more by clicking here ->
What I love about that post, besides the prose and my turns of phrases (seriously, I was ON FIRE) but also that it has been updated to include a link directly to the webinar I worked on and launched yesterday.
Let me tell you about the webinar filming - I had aspirations to go into NYC and use my available office space to film it and be "uber professional" BUT life got in the way. I have been being kinder to myself and trying to give myself time to recoup and heal in so many more ways than just being restful and mindful of my new abilities and such.
So instead of being all high powered Lisa, I used my kids' playroom to film and my dog made an appearance but everything flowed the way I wanted it to and I was proud of it despite it not being "100% corporate level" because that is not me - I am more laid back and personable and just ME. Like, I can help but I do not want to be "this is my business model" because it is not. It is just me trying to help others in a way I know how by saying, honestly, hey, I do not know how to accomplish this yet EITHER but I do know a lot of stuff about it because I used to be an "expert" and this is what I DO know.
I am embedding the video of the webinar playback below and will also update my main page on #careeraftercancer with it to help people be able to view it without having to login, etc.
This is what I do in the time between...
Al about how I found my "tribe" through social media and I hope to help you do the same. If you need any help navigating Twitter or Instagram, email me at email@example.com. Also, I am offering FREE resume help for other cancer patients to be "work ready" - check out my post on my other blog at www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/how-i-want-to-help-other-cancer-survivors. Thanks!
Some pics from a recent meet up :)
Last year, on the day after thanksgiving, I went for my biopsy of the lump my screening mammogram had found, thinking it was just a waste of time and that in my heart of heart it would be benign because how could it not be? I had no history, no lump and no risk factors. The "lump" that was to be biopsied was so small it did not even register during self exams. It was like a small thing, what could it be but the need for me to listen to my doctors and wake up early on a much needed day off from my full time job to go and get this procedure done...
Ha. How wrong I was. That day, the surgeon doing the biopsy told me to expect the call to confirm that it was cancer - she knew by looking at it that it was cancer but would of course tell me to wait for the official word. She did not want me to be shocked when I got the call that Tuesday after Thanksgiving. So I had some time to let the "diagnosis" ruminate before I knew for sure but I just did not even believe her. I was sure it was a mistake but by Tuesday, when the call came in, I knew it was gospel truth.
I spent a year basically in treatment and/or recovering from treatment and as I get closer to my cancerversary, I want to share this video about all that I, yes me, cancer patient, pixied cut, one boobed Lisa, has to be thankful for in my life.
I know that my life will never be the same but you know what, I do not know how much I had before that was "better" - I mean, yes hands down I was healthier but I was not happier. Life is about being happy. It is about giving back. It is about helping others. I have said it before, and I will say it again, I would prefer to have never gotten the cancer card but I got it and now I have to make the best of it -- and damnit, I am ... Check out my video please and continue to share and be a part of my story in any way you want to be - I am so so thankful for each of you! Happy and blessed Thanksgiving to all! Love you, Li
Some of my teammates - LiLi's Team - #7 in Fundraising
I was so excited to walk at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer today!
I am so lucky that I was able to get a big team - I have so many wonderful giving and loving friends who were there with me and even more who donated to my walk. I believe in the American Cancer Society and know that with this walk and the money raised (that I helped) goes directly into services and help for my community.
There are people in your life that are there for a season or a reason - some to teach you a lesson and all that mumbo jumbo but the people in my life are the best in the west! I had so many friends new and old walking with me and a few that lagged behind but were there - these are the people who are here for me - my ride or die people. I love them each and everyone and some who were only there in spirit as times are busy for all of us.
When I got sick, I did not realize how many people I had in my corner at first. It hit me over time that some of these folks have been there for me since 1990 when I was upset about my parents divorce or my latest boyfriend and some of them are new from 2012 or 2014 but they are here for me forever and I love them all.
Of course, I cannot forget my mom - she has been there since day 1 obviously and all of this has been so hard for her. Watching me be sick and go bald and see me get stressed and get put through some unnecessary drama well, I cannot imagine as a mom what it must be like to see your kid go through it... She has been amazing and most of my friends love her like she's their idol or their friend.
Some of my besties I met through my mom way back in 1998-1999. These are just some of the people who are there for me and I hope they know I am here for them. Thank you also to all of my Facebook and LinkedIn friends and family who helped me smash my goal - as I said, this organization does so much for local folks and something like 400 women are diagnosed on Staten Island with breast cancer per year. When I took that survivor picture, I felt so in awe - I know I am not even one year out from this crappy plot twist but I feel like I am a survivor and I will do anything in my power to stay that way while praying for those who cannot be cured and those who are newly diagnosed...
Cancer is a bitch, but as we all know, I can be bitchier :)... This is what I do in the time between.
Still cannot believe I was able to raise so much $$$$ Thanks to all who donated! XOXO
LiLi's Team (Missing Some Stragglers) :)
Do you think I had on enough pink?
Team Raised SO Much - #7 out of all the teams :) LUCKY NUMBER 7
One of the pics of the "survivors" who walked - we are all survivors no matter what xoxo
I began this post with a video - it is hard for me to handle the fact that my illness impacted my kids. I also am learning the hard way that the only way I can survive is to take care of me, too. As a caregiver of so many, it can be hard to make time for myself.
My first peer support meeting will be held this Saturday and I will be posting in general about how it goes. Having children while you are diagnosed with cancer is hard but it is not impossible. I have had to adjust so many things about my parenting style and about communication with the kids. My son is more open and will talk about his stuff but my daughter is less so. I have had to learn how to manage them in different ways and also to help them understand that "cancer" is not a death sentence.
To all the moms out there or caregivers who get diagnosed with cancer, I got your back.
This is what I do in the time between...
I talk a lot about having taken many different paths in my life paths-of-life-how-plot-twists-are-really-new-paths.html and how it affected me am-i-me.html and I am considering the ways in which having experienced breast cancer and deciding to be so public about it can and will continue to affect my future.
As an unemployed person looking for my next step, I know that having been so public about this disease could make me someone who is considered a bad fit for an open job. That does not stop me, though. I will not stop sharing because I have so much to say and I know that the fact that I was a breast cancer patient is not something that really will ever be a "was" - it is and it will be something that no matter how small the risk becomes or how many years out I get will always affect ME in many ways.
Sharing on this blog has opened me up to so many people who are going through the disease and also has helped me educate those who are lucky enough to not have cancer understand what having this diagnosis means. Particularly during this month of pinktober where everything is pink and fuzzy and booby to be me, strong, tough and boobless, is an important part of why I am here writing and sharing every day this month and why I will continue to share in the future.
So that being said I am working on finding a job post cancer AND trying to share these lessons with those of you who are going through it, too. I think the most important thing is to have an awesome resume and to know how to answer interview questions. Your health information is top secret classified information and no one should be able to ask you detailed questions about your health or what if anything will happen in your future.
I am considering taking my entrepreneurial path (www.thenextstep1234.com) and turning it into a not for profit to help those who like me find their plot twist falling off a cliff with cancer. I am learning my own way now - as I go for interviews with my uber pixie cut and my fake boob attached to my bra and as I manage other side effects (but still smiling) plus the overwhelming piece of "what if?" I still have to rock it and hopefully will be posting more about lessons for those of you also in my shoes. Keeping busy and being a productive member of society are key for me to feel truly "back".
So this is what I do in the time between... Stay posted as I continue to balance being a mom, cancer (soon to be) survivor, unemployed, once entrepreneur ex teacher ex educator -- or just Lisa for short...
I have written quite a bit about what it is like to be a mom with breast cancer (but-i-am-a-mom-i-cant-have-cancer.html and managing-diagnosis-from-super-woman-to-cancer-patient-in-two-seconds-flat.html and more).
Something that I only shared recently was about telling my children I was diagnosed. I told all about that in a recent Hey Mama interview (find out more here media-me-sharing-my-breast-cancer-plot-twist-and-pinktober.html) and being a mom was the biggest part of my identity for a long time. I only learned after being diagnosed with breast cancer that I have to be me, Lisa, and take care of ME, Lisa. It has been one of the hardest and best things to do for myself.
Recently, I saw on social media some posts about this new book for children of parents with cancer called, "Cancer Hates Kisses". I ordered it and when I read it, I cried. The tears, though, were tears of joy. I wish I had had this book when I was first diagnosed but better late than never, I sat my kids down and read it to them and it was like something clicked for both of them. They now see me as a superhero which with it being so close to comic con and all I am thrilled to be their superhero and yes, they do keep me brave!
Check out my video and photos about the book below. NOTE: I am not being compensated in anyway for this review; I even paid for the book!
The Time Between Is, INC is a 501(c)(3) corporation - help us reach our goals of launching #balanceaftercancer
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