The Journey

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Love Prayer Strength

Thanks for joining us!

This website has been created to follow and support Tif’s journey as she takes on her recently diagnosed Ovarian Cancer (OC).

Tif was diagnosed on Monday June 11th, 2018.

Since that day many of her friends got on their phones, searched the web, called in their chips and within one week she was at five of the top hospitals on the East Coast (Memorial Sloan Kettering, NYU Langone Center, Mount Sinai, Columbia University Medical Center, Dana Farber/Brigham and Women’s Hospital) and visiting the top Ovarian Cancer specialists and in the field.  On Monday June 25th, after weighing the many the pro’s and con’s of each hospital (and they were mostly all pro’s) Tif decided upon Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) with Dr. Ginger Gardner (surgeon) and Dr. Chrisann Kyi (oncologist) heading her treatment team.

Ovarian Cancer is known as the Silent Killer but our Tif is known as the Silent Slayer 😉 

Many of you are probably asking “How in the heck did this happen?”,  (don’t know?, genetic link?, roll of the dice?), “Were there any signs?” (all the signs are just regular old signs of being a gal – see below symptoms of ovarian cancer), “Did she go for regular check-ups?” (heck YEAH!!!).  Just to reinforce how silent this cancer is, Doctors told Tif that the cancer probably manifested itself within past six months to a year .  By the time most women learn they have it, it has spread from ovaries to other parts of the body –  a fast moving cancer that needs to be aggressively attacked and not treated with kit gloves!

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How Tif Found Out

Tif and Doug were away in Colorado with Teaghan, who was trying out for the USA U17 Olympic basketball team in late May.  When they returned Tif was having trouble breathing but attributed it to the altitude switch from CO to NY.  She was also extremely tired but chalked that up to being a working mom, traveling, running around and just plain old not getting enough sleep.  On June 7th she realized something was “up” due to her labored breath and exhaustion and went to the doctors.  While there they thought she pneumonia because her right lung was filled with fluid.  They then recommended draining her lung because in the interim her right lung collapsed due to weight of fluid.   In medical speak, Tif had pleural effusion.  A pleural effusions is the buildup of extra fluid between the lungs and the chest wall.  When cancer grows in the pleural space, it causes a malignant pleural effusion.  This pleural effusion is treatable and thank goodness they took care of it that day.  It is because of that fluid build up and collapsed lung that the doctors knew something was wrong.  They then sent off the fluid to have it anaylzed and on Monday June 11th they called her in and asked her to come in and have a CAT scan. Within an hour of her being home from the scan they called her up to tell her that she had metastatic bilateral ovarian cancer.  Not the call anyone ever wants to get/hear.

What is Ovarian Cancer?

  • Ovarian cancer develops in the ovaries, which are the female reproductive glands that produce eggs during a woman’s reproductive years. The ovaries also produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Ovarian cancer develops when cells in the ovaries begin to grow out of control.

Until recently, doctors viewed ovarian cancer as the deadliest silent killer in women, as it is usually discovered after spreading beyond the primary tumor site. But new evidence shows that it is treatable AND can go into remission.

The warning signs of ovarian cancer mock common conditions including irritable bowel syndrome and stress.  If you have any symptoms (see below) for longer than a couple weeks, call your doctor.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

  • Bloating
  • Increased abdominal size
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Difficulty eating
  • Feeling full quickly
  • labored breathing
  • exhaustion

For more information on detecting ovarian cancer, click here.

Tif’s Treatment

Tif started treatment this Wednesday (6/27/18) at MSK in NYC.  Her treatment will involve three drugs (Carboplatin , Paclitaxel and Bevacizumab, also known as Avastin) every 21 days.  Her chemotherapy will be an all day affair. The plan so far is the following (but as we all know plans are always fluid):

  • three to four rounds of chemo
  • surgery
  • three more cycles of chemo
  •  assess where she is (Goal — cancer GONE!)

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What can you do?

This site has been created to keep you all updated, so that you can send her your good thoughts, and positive energy, share your inspirational words of encouragement, and for you to be a part of Team Tif as we carry her in prayer and cradle her in love as she takes on this journey to a cancer free Tif.

Looking forward to hearing from you all. Team Tif makes no cuts and all get to play, a very active roll — very similar to the way her dad, Tom O’Toole coached and lived his life.

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love prayer strong

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Thanks to our many talented chefs and cooks!  June and July were made all the easier due to your help.  Andrea Della Mura, who is the food chain master planner extraordinaire, has opened up September and October for all who wanted to help but could not find a date/time.  With the beginning of school and with Tif’s “planned”  September surgery we are adding one more day per week.  Again many thanks for helping to keep Tif’s family well nourished, hydrated and loved!

NOTE — Anyone interested in joining the Teamtif.com food train please click on the above link — XXOO

Post Hospital

October 5th, 2018

Tif left the hospital on Saturday (9/29/18) and was sent home to rest and recuperate.  She said goodbye to MSK and her beautiful view of the East Side of NYC and returned to the beautiful views of her home and Rye, NY.

She didn’t have a lot of downtime though because some of her Team Tif (TT) friends sponsored a group of fellow TT members to a 5K walk/run at the Archbishop Stepinac Family Fun Run that took place on Sunday morning (9/30/18), and YES Tif showed up to cheer them on AND YES that was one day after her hospital stay.  No rest for this gal!

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And as her mom and dad always told her IMG_1008

And so she did!IMG_1944

Even the Stepinac mascot, the Crusader is now a full-fledged member of Team Tif  🎉

The fun run was a lot of fun, lots of TT members came out to show support and the love, prayers, and healing continue to take place one step at a time 😉

Later that afternoon…

Sunday afternoon (9/30/18) one of Tif’s childhood friends, Phil M.,  popped in with his gorgeous daughters who brought a traditional Sunday Italian family dinner, even had homemade gravy, all for Tif and her family to enjoy.  Was a wonderful ending to the long week Tif endured – all good though 👍

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You Don’t have to go fast… you just have to go!

Tif did not let any grass grow under her feet.  She continues to go out for walks every day and even made it back to her old stomping grounds, Playland.  Her walks may not be as long or a vigorous as they had been prior to surgery but they are happening!

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A few of quotes on the benefits of exercise and walking that cannot be denied:

“Walking is man’s best medicine.” — Hippocrates

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” — Henry David Thoreau

“Walking is the best possible exercise.  Habituate yourself to walk very fast.”  Thomas Jefferson

Or as Nike likes to tell us, “Just Do It!”

 

And the REST of the week…

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Tif is hanging low and doing what the doctor said – she is resting, healing and staying positive.

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Doug, Tig and Thomas 10/4/18

Tif is thankful for her TT members and all they are doing to support her and her family.  The delicious meals, baked goods, homemade soups, cards, texts, calls, etc. are making her days brighter and filled with positive vibrations.

 

*Note – Rastafari use of the term “Jah” or sometimes “Jah Jah” as a term for the Lord God of Israel.

Until our next post please keep the positive vibrations coming!

Post-Surgery

Day One Post Op

September 25th, 2018

Yesterday, Tif continued on her path of healing.  She was “released” from the recovery room and happily settled into her new “suite”.  Tif was still feeling like she just experienced the hardest abdominal workout session of her life and was feeling the after-effects of the previous day’s surgery.  We are hoping that the tried and true promises of the motto, “No pain, no gain” holds true in Tif’s healing and post-surgery recovery.  One thing that hasn’t changed is Tif’s continued sharing of smiles, good cheer, and endless positivity. IMG_0581-1

The day was filled with nurses attending to her needs, doctor visits/rounds, assorted Team Tif visitors, texts, calls, a bit of walking and LOTS of gorgeous flowers delivered to brighten the rainy day that was taking place right outside her hospital room window.248474

 

As we watched the falling rain all we could think of were the blue skies that would soon be coming our way.

 

Day Two Post Op

September 26th, 2018

Tif is feeling A LOT better today 👍.  She has quadrupled her rounds of walking and is actually eating solid food and has her appetite is improving.   She is nowhere near as tired and she is looking and acting like she already wants OUT.20180926_084611-2

Until our next post…

Keep on Truckin

Game Day

 

Play-by-Play of a Joy-Filled Day

Septemeber 24th, 2018

Tif left for Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) this AM, at about 9:30 AM and was READY to rumble.   The day that she had been anticipating since it was determined she’d have chemo first AND then surgery was finally upon us.  Thank goodness she was feeling up for the task and was eager to get whatever cancer was there out — today it was happening, no turning back and she met it all with that killer watt smile and positive attitude!  A force to be reckoned with for sure and no messing around with her.  The job was going to get done today and done well.  With Dr. Gardner on board as her surgeon, Dr. Chi handling chemo, Team Tif members running plays, prays and sending positive energy AND with the big guy upstairs orchestrating it all into a perfect symphony she was READY!

Tif got to MSK by 11 AM and was admitted.

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Her spiritual guide and husband extraordinaire was by her side right up until she walked into the operating room by herself.  Yes, you read that correct, she WALKED into the operating room by herself and faced the challenge head-on, standing strong with the knowledge that she had an army of soldiers (Team Tif) watching her back.  And with that knowledge/confidence, she WAS ready to go!

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Tif’s actual surgery started at 1:27 PM.  Dr. Gardner stated last week that the surgery could go anywhere from 3 – 8 hours so not to worry.  And so, there was no worrying allowed in the waiting room 😉 Amazing how time has a different dimension in hospitals – the day flew.  Thank goodness a few TT members were on board to help Doug “not worry”.

At around 7 PM, the waiting room got tired of “waiting” and headed for the recovery floor in hopes that Tif’s surgery would be over soon.  Their desire to make it happen worked and by the time they got up to the sixth floor Tif was out of surgery.

 

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Team Tif members that were present were whisked into one of the consulting rooms where they awaited with bated breath for Dr. Garner and her summary of the 6 1/2 hour surgery and how it went.

MIRACULOUS NEWS!

Dr. Gardner did NOT disappoint and explained how she could not have been happier
with what transpired during the operation.  She told us that spent a lot of time focusing
on what cancer was left and “peeled” it away until she could not physically see any more of it.  She worked incredibly hard and did not want to have to go back on in down the road.   So, she did not finish the surgery until she was satisfied AND she was as were all of we 🎉 !!!!
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Dr. Ginger Gardner (aka Miracle Worker) and Doug

After the incredible news,  Doug and TT had to wait 90 minutes before they could see her.  She was still in recovery and the anesthesia needed to wear off prior to her being seen. This was probably a good thing, for it allowed them time to give thanks, pray and reflect on the many miracles they had all been a witness to.  To say they were all not overwhelmed with pure joy and happiness would be an understatement.

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Fast Forward 90 minutes…

Tif looked incredible!  She was all smiles, thumbs up, cracking jokes, being kind to the nurses, staff and even us 😉.  When she asked how the surgery went she understandably did not believe us or our good news BUT pictures don’t lie nor do cancer surgeons!

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When we asked how she felt, she said she felt like she just had the hardest workout of her life and was tired, but we are ok with that!  She will be at MSK anywhere from 5 – 8 days healing and getting ready to get home and heal some more.  Chemo will resume in 3 – 6  weeks and then hopefully the next three rounds of planned chemo will wipe out and destroy any microscopic floating cancer cells that may be left.

Although this battle is NOT yet over and we realize that many more challenges may lie ahead we do want to stop, smell the flowers, savor THIS moment and appreciate the many factors, the many people, and all the support, love, and the synchronicity of events that brought us here tonight.  God is alive, prayer is working, attitude matters, surrounding yourself with the best players, doctors, team members, friends, etc. matters and remember to embrace your joys, accomplishments, and happiness!  Joy matters… savor it when you experience, hear, and/or feel it!

 

Good night (or good morning depending on how you are looking at 12:54 AM) – It was a GREAT day and thanks for caring, being a part of TT and checking in!

 

 

 

Pre-Game Day

(aka Pre-Surgery Prep Day for those in Rio Linda 😉)

September 23rd, 2018

Today Tif is getting her game face and game plan ready in preparation for tomorrows surgery.  The BIG DAY — 9/24 — and to all our gamblers out there 924 may just be the ticket to buy!

On Friday (9/21) Tif met with her Surgeon, Dr. Ginger Gardner and team at MSK to discuss her upcoming surgery and plans going forward.  Just an FYI, Tif could not be in better hands with Dr. Gardner, and we just know she’s going to be up and walking VERY soon!

Get ready cause here she comes (apologies but since we KNOW she is gonna rock it this whole week we needed an “edgy version/tune of  “Get Ready“.)  Feel free to jump out of your seats to pray, run, sing or just dance!

 

🎉  CALLING ALL TEAM TIF MEMBERS  🎉

Speaking of walking, (or for those who like to run) next Sunday, 9/30, if any of you are free and want to represent Team Tif (TT) please join some of our TT members for a 5/K Run/walk.  A 5K is 3.11 miles and you are welcome to do any part of that or all.  We are hoping for a great turnout and who knows Tif might just be there…  Details will follow as to meeting point at Stepinac but if you look out for the below logo you will find us 😉

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Please Join Us!

                                                     TEAM TIFFANY 5K Run/Walk

                                                     Sunday, September 30th@ 9:30

                                                             Stepinac High School 

                                                        950 Mamaroneck Avenue

                                                          White Plains, NY 10605

                                                      Bring your Family & Friends &
Let’s Rally for Tiffany!!!!
                                                        Please Use this Link to Register
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                                                             ❤️🙏💪

Feast Day of Padre Pio is Today 9/23

(running theme– there are NO accidents)

Yesterday Tif and Doug ventured in NYC to St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in lower Manhattan to go and see Padre Pio’s relics that were on display this week.  The tour of the relics of Padre Pio on the occasion of the 50th commemoration anniversary of Padre Pio entering eternal life are traveling throughout the US and the relics of Saint Pio available for public veneration which Tif and Doug got to view are the following:

  • Saint Pio’s glove
  • Saint Pio’s crusts of the wounds
  • Cotton-gauze with Saint Pio’s blood stains
  • A lock of Saint Pio’s hair
  • Saint Pio’s mantle
  • Saint Pio’s handkerchief soaked with his sweat hours before he died

St. Pio, who was more commonly known as Padre Pio, was canonized by St. Pope John Paul II in 2002. The Capuchin Franciscan priest was known as a confessor and a mystic. He died in his native Italy on September23, 1968, at age 81. Pope John Paul II recognized Padre Pio as a saint on June 16, 2002. His feast day is today September 23.  He is the patron of civil defense volunteers, adolescents, and the village of Pietrelcina.  Padre Pio was said to have had the gift of reading souls, the ability to bilocate (according to eyewitness accounts), among other supernatural phenomena. He was said to communicate with angels and worked favors and healings before they were requested of him.  The reports of supernatural phenomena surrounding Padre Pio attracted fame and legend. The Vatican was initially skeptical BUT we are not 😉 .  As a matter of fact, Padre Pio was one of Dorothy O’Toole’s favorite saints and we just know he and she are storming the heaven in prayer for old Tif and are leading the charge for us all.

Tif and Doug also met up later with their sister-in-law, Joan (Tif’s late brother Brendan’s partner) and they had a fabulous “last meal” at one of their go-to places in the East

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Village prior to today’s liquid diet.  Looking good as always – filled both spiritually and physically.

For those wanting to learn a bit more about Padre Pio the following short video is a mini lesson.

** for more Padre Pio information please check bottom of today’s blog.

And this brings us to today…

 

So today, Tif will continue preparing physically, mentally and spiritually and from what we know about Tif, she’s got this!  Tif not only looks great but is feeling terrific.

She wants you all to know that your positivity energy, healing thoughts, prayers and well wishes ARE working.  Elephants, good food, healing stones, mass cards… are all doing the job but she wants to thank you for your love and strong faith in her.  We know Team Tif is a community effort, no man is an island nor ever truly alone — Thank you!

Today Tif is on a liquid diet (broth, jello, hard candy and water/juice) and will be hanging low.  Surgery will take place at MSK in NYC and based on how she is feeling she will be at the hospital anywhere from 3-5 days.  She will then head home to recover which can be anywhere from 4-6 weeks.  Once she has healed from surgery she will hit the ground running to begin her next three rounds of chemo to destroy any existing cancer cells that MAY have been hiding during surgery.  We want the cancer gone and are calling on all our TT members to raise Tif up in prayer/song so that the cancer cells won’t have a choice but to GO AWAY for good!

In honor of Halloweens approaching date lets all switch the words out from our favorite go-to, the Scary Monster Song (aka “Go Away”), and sing in unison “Go Away Scary Cancer Cells,  Go Away”.  Another fabulous song in the Team Tif bumper rotation  🎼 😎 🎼 that will stay in your head for days! Sorry… you WERE warned.

In Closing…

Now that we have rocked out, signed up for the 5K walk/run at Stepinac, learned a bit about whose St. day it is today (quiz tomorrow 😳), and are chanting Go away scary cancer cells we will leave you with the following prayer.  We hope you all can find some time to read it today or tomorrow and think of Tif and all those who are facing uncertainty, challenges, and/or bumps and twists in the road.

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**A Short Biography (well not too short…)

Padre Pio (Francesco Forgione) was born to Giuseppa and Grazio Forgione, in the small farming town of Pietrelcina, Italy on May 25, 1887. Although the Forgiones were poor in material goods, they were certainly rich in their faith life and in the love of God.

Even as a young boy, Francesco had already shown signs of extraordinary gifts of grace. At the age of five, he dedicated his life to God. From his early childhood, he showed a remarkable recollection of spirit and a love for the religious life. His mother described him as a quiet child who, from his earliest years, loved to go to church and to pray. As a young boy, he was able to see and communicate with, not only his guardian angel but also with Jesus and the Virgin Mary. In his simplicity, Francesco assumed everyone had the same experiences. Once a woman who noticed his spiritual demeanor asked him, “When did you consecrate your life to God? Was it at your first Holy Communion?” and he answered, “Always, daughter, always.”

When Francesco was fifteen years old, he was admitted to the novitiate of the Capuchin Order of the Friars Minor in Morcone, Italy. He was admired by his fellow-students as well as by his Superiors for his exemplary behavior and his deep piety. One of the novices stated, “There was something which distinguished him from the other students. Whenever I saw him, he was always humble, recollected, and silent. What struck me most about Brother Pio was his love of prayer.”

On August 10, 1910, at the age of twenty-three, Padre Pio was ordained to the priesthood. The celebration of the Holy Mass was for Padre Pio, the center of his spirituality.  Due to the long pauses of contemplative silence into which he entered at various parts of the Holy Sacrifice, his Mass could sometimes last several hours.  Everything about him spoke of how intensely he was living the Passion of Christ. The parish priest in Pietrelcina called Padre Pio’s Mass, “an incomprehensible mystery.” When asked to shorten his Mass, Padre Pio replied, “God knows that I want to say Mass just like any other priest, but I cannot do it.”

His parishioners were deeply impressed by his piety and one by one they began to come to him, seeking his counsel. For many, even a few moments in his presence, proved to be a life changing experience. As the years passed, pilgrims began to come to him by the thousands, from every corner of the world, drawn by the spiritual riches which flowed so freely from his extraordinary ministry. To his spiritual children he would say, “It seems to me as if Jesus has no other concern but the sanctification of your soul.”

Padre Pio is understood above all else as a man of prayer. Before he was thirty years old he had already reached the summit of the spiritual life known as the “unitive way” of transforming union with God. He prayed almost continuously. His prayers were usually very simple. He loved to pray the Rosary and recommended it to others. To someone who asked him what legacy he wished to leave to his spiritual children, his brief reply was, “My child, the Rosary.” He had a special mission to the souls in Purgatory and encouraged everyone to pray for them. He used to say, “We must empty Purgatory with our prayers.” Father Agostino Daniele, his confessor, director, and beloved friend said, “One admires in Padre Pio, his habitual union with God. When he speaks or is spoken to, we are aware that his heart and mind are not distracted from the thought and sentiment of God.”

Padre Pio suffered from poor health his entire life, once saying that his health had been declining from the time he was nine years old. After his ordination to the priesthood, he remained in his hometown of Pietrelcina and was separated from his religious community for more than five years due to his precarious health.  Although the cause of his prolonged and debilitating illnesses remained a mystery to his doctors, Padre Pio did not become discouraged. He offered all of his bodily sufferings to God as a sacrifice, for the conversion of souls. He experienced many spiritual sufferings as well. “I am fully convinced that my illness is due to a special permission of God,” he said.

Shortly after his ordination, he wrote a letter to his spiritual director, Father Benedetto Nardella, in which he asked permission to offer his life as a victim for sinners. He wrote, “For a long time I have felt in myself a need to offer myself to the Lord as a victim for poor sinners and for the souls in Purgatory. This desire has been growing continually in my heart so that it has now become what I would call a strong passion. . .It seems to me that Jesus wants this.” The marks of the stigmata, the wounds of Christ, appeared on Padre Pio’s body, on Friday, September 20, 1918, while he was praying before a crucifix and making his thanksgiving after Mass. He was thirty-one years old and became the first stigmatized priest in the history of the Church. With resignation and serenity, he bore the painful wounds in his hands, feet, and side for fifty years.

In addition, God endowed Padre Pio with many extraordinary spiritual gifts and charisms including the gift of healing, bilocation, prophecy, miracles, discernment of spirits, the ability to abstain beyond man’s natural powers from both sleep and nourishment, the ability to read hearts, the gift of tongues (the ability to speak and understand languages that he had never studied), the gift of conversions, the grace to see angelic beings in form, and the fragrance which emanated from his wounds and which frequently announced his invisible presence. When a friend once questioned him about these charisms, Padre Pio said, “You know, they are a mystery to me, too.” Although he received more than his share of spiritual gifts, he never sought them, never felt worthy of them. He never put the gifts before the Giver. He always remained humble, constantly at the disposal of Almighty God.

His day began at 2:30 a.m. when he would rise to begin his prayers and to make his preparation for Mass. He was able to carry on a busy apostolate with only a few hours of sleep each night and an amount of food that was so small (300-400 calories a day) that his fellow priests stated that it was not enough food even to keep a small child alive. Between Mass and confessions, his workday lasted 19 hours. He very rarely left the monastery and never took even a day’s vacation from his grueling schedule in 51 years. He never read a newspaper or listened to the radio. He cautioned his spiritual children against watching television.

In his monastery in San Giovanni Rotondo, he lived the Franciscan spirit of poverty with detachment from self, from possessions, and from comforts. He always had a great love for the virtue of chastity, and his behavior was modest in all situations and with all people. In his lifetime, Padre Pio reconciled thousands of men and women back to their faith.

The prayer groups that Padre Pio established have now spread throughout the world. He gave a new spirit to hospitals by founding one which he called “The Home for the Relief of Suffering.” He saw the image of Christ in the poor, the suffering, and the sick and gave himself particularly to them. He once said, “Bring God to all those who are sick. This will help them more than any other remedy.”

Serene and well prepared, he surrendered to Sister Death on September 23, 1968 at the age of eighty-one. He died as he had lived, with his Rosary in his hands. His last words were Gesú, Maria – Jesus, Mary – which he repeated over and over until he breathed his last. He had often declared, “After my death I will do more. My real mission will begin after my death.”

In 1971, Pope Paul VI, speaking to the superiors of the Capuchin order, said of Padre Pio, “What fame he had. How many followers from around the world. Why? Was it because he was a philosopher, a scholar, or because he had means at his disposal? No, it was because he said Mass humbly, heard confessions from morning until night and was a marked representative of the stigmata of Our Lord. He was truly a man of prayer and suffering.”

In one of the largest liturgies in the Vatican’s history, Pope John Paul II canonized Padre Pio on June 16, 2002. During his homily, Pope John Paul recalled how, in 1947, as a young priest he journeyed from Poland to make his confession to Padre Pio. “Prayer and charity–this is the most concrete synthesis of Padre Pio’s teaching,” the Pope said.

Drawing approximately eight million pilgrims each year, San Giovanni Rotondo, where St. Pio lived and is now buried, is second only to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico in its number of annual visitors.

St. Pio’s whole life might be summed up in the words of St. Paul to the Colossians, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church.”

Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, pray for us.

 

Wonder of Wonders, Miracles of Miracles…

September 19th, 2018

We have been witness to a miracle – God is great!

Wanted to give you all an update on Amy’s Magnotta Puma’s progress.  Amy LEFT the hospital on 9/19/18 and is now home!   What follows is a letter from her sister Deborah Magnotta Hargraves Hargraves to all of you out there praying for her and following her story:

“Hi everyone – well, this is it – the email that informs you that after 3 months of praying, crying, talking and texting about Amy and her recovery – Amy is home with Chris, Zoe and Jack!  Unbelievable.

With only a recommendation to take a daily multi-vitamin, Amy walked out the door of NYU Rusk today with Chris.  No wheelchair, walker or cane.  She literally got in a cab and Chris and Amy went to have sushi for lunch!  Yes, sushi!  And tonight they went out to dinner!!!  Can you imagine?!
Amy’s blood pressure, heart rate, memory, reading comprehension and speech and language are all very good.  She feels great.  Her stitches are out and Amy can raise both arms, ride a stationary bike with ease, and out-run me down the hallway.  Amy’s therapists have thought of everything these last 2 weeks to prepare her to go home.  She has gone grocery shopping, taken the subway, walked around the park, and packed Zoe’s lunch.  We have been amazed at how many things they have done with Amy to ensure she is capable and confident to return home.
So, it is with much gratitude that we say thank you again for being on this journey with us.  So many people from so many places prayed for and supported Amy and her family.  It made all of the difference.  It has been an emotional ride but it has a good ending.
And if I may, I have had several thoughts and observations along the way that I would like to share.
1. Never mess with a mother and her child!  Both my own mother and sister have shown me how fiercely women fight to protect their children
2.  Prayers have the power to heal – both for the one praying and for the one who is being prayed for
3.  We should all kiss a doctor, hug a nurse, and squeeze a therapist whenever given the chance.  There are miracle workers amongst us and I am so grateful to have witnessed what they do
4.  Never, never, never give up
And lastly, and most importantly, in case you haven’t noticed, God is alive and well.  🙂
with much love, Deb xo”

“After Every Storm Comes A Rainbow”

And as you all know we at Team Tif are constantly reminded that there are NO accidents.  As Deb left the city that evening, after visiting Amy for the final time at the Rusk Institute, she looked up and saw the most wonderful of sights.  She saw the most amazing of rainbows and pulled over to try and grab a photo of it.  As she was capturing the below photos she also noticed that the song playing in her was “I Can See Clearly Now”.  A perfect ending to a whirlwind, life-changing three, three month period.  This “moment”  — that was NOT overlooked, or not paid attention too — this rainbow and song, basically captured exactly how she was feeling after being part of Amy’s healing and miraculous recovery.  A gift for all her and to all of us who look for sign’s that God is listening and paying attention.  Hint — PAY ATTENTION 😉 👍

We Believe!  Yes, we do!

Great News

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018 – Sunday, September 16th, 2018

*Note 9/17 is Thomas Flaherty’s 18th b-day 🎂 please see bottom of page for Thomas Edward Flaherty slide show

CAT Scan Day

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After her fourth round of Chemo, the next step on Tif’s journey was to have a CT scan (also known as a CAT scan in “older” medical lingo 😉).  CT scans are special X-ray tests that produce cross-sectional images of the body using X-rays and a computer.  This was a long-anticipated event because we were ALL desiring to KNOW just how well had the four previous sessions of chemo affected Tif’s cancer.  A lot was riding on this “event” and the news that came from it.

Tiffany had her CT-Scan on 9/4  and on 9/7 she learned that the chemo was indeed WORKING and that the cancer was/is being destroyed 🎉  YAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY!

As with all good news, Team Tif celebrates in the best way they know how, eating!  Tif and gang headed to one of their favorite White Plain’s establishments, Francesco’s and toasted the amazing news with a few of her siblings and their children.  Nothing is taken for granted with this bunch!

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This positive report also leads Tiffany to her next “stop” on the road to her recovery — SURGERY.    On Monday, September 24th Tif is scheduled to have Dr. Ginger Gardner perform her magic and get as much of what’s left of the cancer OUT.  We are not sure if it is normal to be excited that someone is having surgery but we are and Tif can’t wait!

Celebration Continues…Rosh Hashanah ( Beginning of the Jewish New Year)

Monday, September 10th, 2018

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A few days later after receiving her terrific report, the celebration continued as she and her family celebrated the beginning of the Jewish New Year with her good friends, the O’Brien family.  Great food, lots of laughs and the best of ways to start the new year.

Sew Much Fun, Sew Much Love ❤️

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Two of Tif’s amazing friends and Team Tif lifers organized a wonderful event which was to gather together, celebrate Tif and have each participant embellish an elephant on a warm fleece blanket that would then be used to envelop Tiffany after her surgery so she’d know how very much she’s loved.

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Kim and Cliona

Team Tif Members were busy making the below quilt

 

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The blanket of love, hope, and strength

We think she feels and felt the love that evening and throughout this journey thanks to ALL of you 💙💚💛🧡❤️  It was truly a magical evening and you could palpably feel the great love surrounding our girl and each other.

 

Sometimes there are NO accidents

When leaving the event this song just happened to be on in the car — I’ll Cover You 

If you listen/look at the lyrics the phrases “COVER YOU” and “I’LL BE YOUR BLANKET”  were a wonderful way to cap off the night.  Tif knows she is blanketed in love and great hope — Thank you all!!!

Lyrics:

Live in my house,

I’ll be your shelter,
Just pay me back
WIth one thousand kisses
Be my lover
and I’ll cover you
Open your door,
I’ll be your tenant
Don’t got much baggage to lay at your feet
But sweet kisses I’ve got to spare
I’ll be there and I’ll cover you
I think they meant it when they said you can’t buy love
Now I know you can rent it
A new lease you are my love, on life
Be my life
Just slip me on,
I’ll be your blanket
Wherever,whatever, I’ll be your coat
You’ll be my King, and I’ll be your castle
No, you’ll be my Queen, and I’ll be your moat
I think they meant it when they said you can’t buy love
Now I know you can rent it
A new lease you are my love, on life
All my life
I’ve longed to discover
Something as true as this is
So with a thousand sweet kisses,I’ll cover you
, With a thousand sweet kisses,I’ll cover you,
When you’re worn out and
tired,When your heart has expired
If you’re cold and you’re lonely
You’ve got one nickel only
With a thousand sweet kisses, I’ll cover you,
With a thousand sweet kisses, I’ll cover you
Oh, lover,
I’ll cover you,
Yeah,
Oh, lover,
I’ll cover you…

**  HISTORY of the Broadway Play Rent

*Rent is a play based on Puccini’s ‘La Boheme’, ‘Rent’ tells the story of one year in the life of friends living the Bohemian life in modern day East Village, New York City, 1989-1990.

Analysis of the play Rent by this blogger — You can’t buy love – it can only be rented THUS take care of it (LOVE) while you have it.

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Walking, Dogs, Friends and Faith

September 16th, 2018

The best protection Tif has aside from all of us is her sidekick and everyone’s favorite guard dog, Hooper.  The way he protects not only Tif but her home is truly incredible.

 

He is also a force to be reckoned with on the boardwalk too, but oh so loving.

Today, as Tif journeyed out to Playland she came across a few friends who have shared similar journeys and or life struggles who have continued to meet those challenges with grace, strength, and style.   What a wonderful feeling to know that we are not alone and that that we never truly walk alone on any journey.

 

As we close out this post let us also remember all those affected by troubles, illness, personal struggles, unavoidable life issues, and unforeseen life events and may we remember and share St. Francis de Sales wise and mindful words :

“We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on God.” —St. Francis de Sales

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Lyrics:

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark
Walk on, through the wind
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark
Walk on, through the wind
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
Walk on, through the wind
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
Never walk alone

** History of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”

“You’ll Never Walk Alone” – The Story Behind Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Beloved Song of Hope

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Tif probably doesn’t remember but she was pregnant at the time and was lulled into a deep sleep while she and her guests enjoyed Carousel live on Broadway 😴

This song has been performed by countless artists (Judy Garland, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash, Shirley Jones, The Three Tenors, Patti LaBelle, Josh Groban, Jordan Sparks, etc.  Please check out your favorite version of it😉  it just might become a staple in your cars music rotation.

“Embrace life’s storms they are part of the journey, too.”

 

Thomas Flaherty through the years –Birthday Boy – slideshow

 

 

Labor Day 2018

Day five of Cycle 4

Monday Sept. 3rd 2018

 

 

 

 

Tif survived the dreaded “third to fourth day” after Chemo (the days they tell you that you are most likely going to feel bad) and didn’t skip a beat and hit the pavement with gusto.  Hot temperature and high humidity did not prevent her from getting out and making the most of this Labor Day holiday.  Luckily she had a few Team Tif lifer’s on board and off they went.  Good conversation, sharing of thoughts and catching up on others is always a great way to begin ones week.  Good energy was drawn in (breath) from the beautiful environment and every exhale, negativity released.

So, now that round 4 was administered, the next step for Tif is a scan to see how much of the cancer has melted away.  Tif’s scan will be taking place this week and hopefully by next week we will have a better plan going forward.

We here at Team Tif, believe whole heartedly that prayers works and have been a witness to a REAL miracle this summer.  Our dear friend Amy Magnotta Puma (who we mentioned back in July) not only survived her cerebral vascular accident 7 days after the birth of her son (they did not believe she’d survive much less THRIVE) but is now miracuously better than OK!   She is currently at the Rusk Institute in NYC and exceeding all expectations. She’s not only walking, talking but now she’s telling us she is ready to go home and be a mom again.  Simply  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

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Beautiful photo of Amy and Zoe taken after Jack was born.

So, today I ask you all to take a moment to send all the good energy you have and send it both Amy and Tif’s way.  For Tif, the cancer has had 4 rounds with Chemo BUT I believe we all are FAR more powerful and focused than any old chemo drug could be.  Call us crazy, but we believe!

So tonight please keep both Tif and Amy in your prayer list and if you can give them a special shout out and ask that Tif’s scan come back looking as good as her 😉 and that Amy get’s to go home and be the mom that she is meant to be all will be good.

 

 

Thank you so much and until our next post we hope you keep this beautiful song in your heart ❤️  St. Augustine is credited with the saying that “He who sings, prays twice,” so feel free to sing along!