Woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend... Just when I thought life could not get any better I heard a knock on my door, it was Cancer.
It changed everything but not for the worse. I choose Life and Hope .
BACK OFF CANCER is what I say!

The beginning of this journey...shaving my head

The beginning of this journey...shaving my head
Me, Francesca, on April 1st 2007, the day I shaved my head....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

From 13 steps to 13 miles

Dear Friends:

As many of you know, I recently celebrated a very special milestone in cancer world: 2 years in remission. I AM SO LUCKY! For the few out there that are not familiar with the subject, studies show that the recurrence of cancer is higher during the first 2 years after treatment.

Cancer has not left my life though. Paired with the side effects of an aggressive chemo treatment , Cancer wanted to get close to me in another form ; My Dad. My gorgeous , young , charming father has been fighting a courageous battle with metastasized cancer since this past spring and while there are better days than others we are lucky that he has had an incredible team of doctors and while at first we thought that he wasn't going to make it till Christmas we are now very optimistic that Santa will have a gift for him in his bag. Maybe it will even be in the form of remission, a cancer free life.

I am about to celebrate all that I am grateful for by joining other survivors and caregiver in San Francisco for the NIKE Half- Marathon benefiting The Lymphoma and Leukemia Society on October 18.

When I was sick I often talked about the humbling moment when I was just not able to take the 13 flights of steps in my house. I started it and half way through it I had to sit down, take my breath and then continue. So now I can look into cancer 's eye and say : "-take that! Now I will be running/walking 13 MILES as the half marathon". I am doing this in honor of my father and the people that are now undergoing treatment and are facing "their 13 steps".

I am personally making a donation as my family and I are grateful for the research efforts of the LLS. With no obligation to act , here is my fundraising page that I just put together as so many of you have so generously asked me about.

Although 2 years have gone by, not a day goes by that I don't stop, say a prayer and thank the universe for the love that I received from you during the trying times of my treatment and beyond. Many of you deserve a piece of this celebration. So, on Oct 18th, weather in SF or anywhere around the world, please raise a glass of bubbles and celebrate LIFE!

with much love

Francesca, Carsten and Leonardo

Some cancer facts and for more please visit :www.livestrong.org

There are more than 10.5 million cancer survivors living in the United States today. This number has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The number of survivors will grow as the population ages and progress against cancer continues.

1.4 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year. 560,000 Americans are expected to die from cancer this year, or more than 1,500 per day.

Nearly 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will develop cancer during their lifetime.

Within the next decade, cancer is likely to replace heart disease as the leading cause of death in the U.S. It is already the biggest killer of those under the age of 85. Today 65% of adults diagnosed with cancer will be alive five years after diagnosis, up from 50% in the 1970s. African-American men and women have the highest mortality rates for all cancer sites combined.

While dramatic survival improvements have been achieved in patients diagnosed with cancer at age 15 or younger and steady improvement has been made against a number of cancers common among those over age 40, little or no progress has been seen in the adolescent and young adult population. In fact, among those aged 25 to 35 years, survival has not improved in more than two decades.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lesson : Friendship---- CHECK!

If you have had any "deep " conversation with me during the past 2 years since my diagnosis you for sure have heard that one my fears, and probably my only BIG fear, was to leave Leonardo too soon . A mother leaving a child would always seem soon but what I feared was that I would not be able to share with L. some of my deep values and my passions. Sure he would have heard stories and read journals but I wanted to live and experience the moment with him.

I am blessed in many ways, and my friendships are my most valued asset. I just plain LOVE my friends. They come in all shapes and colors. They love from the Grateful Dead to Britney Spears. Some are Pro life, some a pro choice. Some a pot head hippies and some are living the high life somewhere around the globe. Some I need our daily interaction as much as a lifeline while others I have only shared few moments together . But some things I assure you they all have in common. They are all lovely people. They would not hurt an animal or a child. They would save the environment. They would do "the right thing".

The lesson of friendship was a very important one for me to teach / share with L. I knew that if he saw my relationship with my friends, how much I love them, respect them, and miss them that he would learn the lesson , without it having to be thought.

Yesterday L. had his best mate here for a sleep over. Their friendship is special. I can feel it. They were going crazy, like 5 year old boys should . And after a long time of "monster noises", giggles, pillow fights, I suddenly heard SILENCE from the boys room.

Carefully I opened the door, and they were passed out...each on their own bed ...with arms stretched out ..... HOLDING HANDS.

And at that moment with my heart filled with joy I heard the Universe telling me.... LESSON LEARNED!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Brilliant LIFE!

Not often people can touch you and your life in immense form. Even more rarely is when you have never met the person . My admiration for Shin was bigger than that. And I continue to admire her even after she has left this life.

I wanted to write about her . But I believe that the eulogy from her husband is a much more fitting one.

Rest well Shin NA! And Thank you!

For shins story please visit:

big kiss

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dear Cancer:

Look into my eyes. I think you will see that fear is being replaced with Hope and a bit of Rage. If I were you I would be really , really scared.

So I have news for you: Pay close attention!

- I will not close myself in a dark room and cry with fears that you are getting close to me again.
- I will not be paralyzed just expecting you to come visit again.. .I AM FIGHTING AGAINST YOU and like Amy says... I am playing DEFENSE
- I will not longer be afraid of a move because that may mean new doctors/insurances/etc... We ARE moving ... and I will show you that my fight will be better and stronger.
- I will no longer just HOPE for a cure to send you back to the ugly place you came from.. I will be actively involved in actions and organizations that have CURE CANCER on their business plans.

It 's ok Cancer... are you scared? It is ok..

Just Bow to me and walk/stay away .. I have my life, my family that need me without having ALWAYS your stupid name coming up.

Oh ..and one more thing: remember all the weight ( literally ) that you left behind??? yes , that one from all the *shit* you had me take so I could stay alive and Kick your ass??? Oh... I am happy to tell you that that too is on its way out. I am back on my skinny jeans ( oh, skinny for me at least! :) )

So Cancer... SAYONARA ... bye bye...tchuss ! Go get lost ! I am seriously DONE with you.

big kiss