Friday, September 25, 2015

MY REMINDER TO #LiveInspired

Live Inspired.


I'm inspired and I'm also, in a word, stunned.

I'm jaded. There's no such thing as something for nothing in the world where I reside.

That. And I never "win" anything either. No raffles, no pick 4 lotto tickets, nothing. Ever.

Check that. I won those stupid Cancer Olympics. You know. Breast Cancer. It's the one that gets all the attention and soon enough the entire globe is going to be bathed in pink ribbons and when I say the globe, I kid you not. I seem to recall seeing photos at the pyramids in Egypt. This isn't a rant about that.

This is about winning. Or rather, being honored in a way that has me still sitting in a state of shock.

It started with an email. Technically, it must have started with a tweet. From the Apple Store. Apple, whose social media presence is genius. Like the bars in their stores. They have none. Social media presence, I mean. The employees in their stores are always helpful but no social media presence from a company that is so intertwined with the technology that fuels the engine?

I'm big on tweets. Mostly, twitter is my medical place. It's where I engage and learn about new research. It's where I try to offer support to others. It's where I "have a big mouth" which apparently, is not appreciated by the CEO of a certain unnamed organization as I seem to recall in a certain session at a recent science meeting. "Don't listen to the 'social media big mouths' because we are (insert your own thought-not telling the truth, don't know what we're talking about, just big mouths....." And yes, the glance was cast in my direction. I just couldn't discern exactly where the glance was directed. Was it me or was it Lori? Since it was a metastatic disease discussion, I'm guessing me. No one would dare do that to a metastatic patient. I'm only on the fringes by virtue of my advocacy and my mom and all of those I've come to know and love. But no matter and a HUGE digression and no, I'm not naming any more names, either.

Twitter in every day life? Love it. Why? For starters, a few weeks ago, I had to make a trip to the DMV. The dreaded DMV. I had to change the name on my license. Does anyone recall my shock when I learned, at this age, I have been parading around for my entire life thinking my name was AnneMarie, only to learn that my REAL name is Anne. My middle name is Marie. It was in a post 9/11 world that I learned this. I was trying to board an international flight with a passport that correctly showed my name and an airline ticket that included my middle name as part of my first name. The young man at the DMV who fixed my driver's license was wonderful. NYS recently launched a program where it's possible to make an online appointment to minimize the wait. The program works and the young man was a delight. When I left, I sent a tweet to NYS DMV to thank them for the program and offer a shout out to their employee. They replied.

I included the Hyatt in NYC in a tweet recently and they responded using my name. "Looking forward to seeing you, AnneMarie." Health Republic has assisted me a number of times with quick responses when I couldn't resolve issues that had nothing to do with them but still, they jumped in. Yes, a health insurance company. American Airlines? I had a kid stranded in Chicago several months back and THEY replied seeking flight information to get me updates on my kid who spent the night on a chair in the terminal at O'Hare. I even had a jury duty issue with an out of town kid, not the Chicago kid, another one. The town supervisor had the Commissioner of Jurors to call me to resolve the issue.

It works. Social media works. Every one of those snippets of life really happened. To me. So yes, twitter is quite helpful. Unless, of course, you're Apple and don't want to hear about anything in such a public space lest you have to hire a team to answer the tweets. I was pissed over a cracked screen, Apple Care and being told to get at the back of the line for the pleasure of paying extra for Apple Care. To be clear, I didn't want to cut the line, but I thought, Apple Care could perhaps have its own line that didn't eat up THREE solid hours waiting to be helped. All I could do was rant a bit and apparently, and definitely unbeknownst to me, someone WAS paying attention. Not Apple, but someone.

The "someone" was a representative from Consumer Cellular. The message was in the form of an email offering me a new iPhone. They saw I cracked my screen. I started quite incredulously at MY screen. Definitely a hoax. I replied. Figured I'd smoke someone out. No hoax. Quite simply, this is what happened. In honor of their two millionth customer, Consumer Cellular made a TWO MILLION dollar donation to the Knight Cancer Center. To celebrate, they are giving away "little gifts" as part of Consumer Cellular Live Inspired campaign.

Yesterday, THIS happened. A package arrived, I opened it up and snapped a selfie. Since I can NOT stand what I look like in selfies (and no Upstate, I am NOT interested in ANY selfie stick), I'll share that I returned from Sloan Kettering where they did this (routine blood work in advance of my xgeva shot for my crumbling femara bones):

It's just always a blast walking into the facility where I seem to have left my brain in 2006-7 during the course of my chemotherapy. Yes, I put on the smile and pretend it doesn't bother me, but if I'm to be completely honest, I have PTSD flashbacks every time I walk into that building. I see myself in the infusion suite. I remember how I was on the floor in the bathroom all by myself when I realized I wasn't going to make it to the parking lot without hurling. Mostly, what makes me the saddest? The very last time I saw my dad walking, we were walking out of that building together. Days later he would be gone. So yes, sadness. And anxiety.

Doing my best to get the anxiety to controllable levels without grabbing for the last resort anxiety pill, I blasted the music in the car, windows open, beautiful day and I got home ready to lunge for the pill bottle anyway. Sometimes, thankfully very infrequently, the medication is a necessary thing. I grabbed the mail on my way in, trying to remember where I even PUT the damn anxiety medication. 

And then, I opened a package I took from the mailbox that contained this:

It definitely changed my attitude.

Yes, I was joyful. And it's really not about the phone. It's more about the fact that 2M was donated for research and that it was done with little fanfare makes it that much better. And this celebration of gift giving and encouraging people to #LiveInspired, frankly, I'm so inspired by so many. Many who are no longer here, many who push through every day and many who do what they can to help. 

Thank YOU, Consumer Cellular. YOU helped lift me up on a day when I could have easily stayed in a dark place. And yes, I DO love the phone and I am truly grateful for the gift.

And, I LOVE the collage on the LiveInspired page. I see a few of my favorite quotes EVER.

OK, I have to give in on the selfie even though my arms aren't long enough to get the camera far enough from my aging face.......

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  1. It was our pleasure, AnneMarie! People like you make a difference in the lives of so many, and you truly inspire us! Enjoy your iPhone, and thank you for being a true example of what it means to #LiveInspired!

  2. That is why I love this company. You all have big hearts.

  3. been their customer for years love this I'm visiting the infusion rooms myself these days I understand and am touched. by this in a whole new way.

  4. First, thank you all for leaving comments here! I do try to respond as I get them.
    Consumer Cellular: You are a beacon of light and a shining example of how to do things RIGHT.
    To my two anonymous friends, THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts with me. I love that both of you have come here to leave comments about your love of the company.
    Lastly, "unknown" I'm so sorry to read that you're in the infusion rooms. My email info is above if you want to rant, vent or anything else. You're not alone. I send you warm thoughts and support as you navigate these waters. ~AnneMarie


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