Day two of Cycle 4 after Chemo
August 31st, 2018
Day two after Chemo and Tif was up and ready to rock and roll. She was pumped and was looking forward to hitting the pavement for her daily walk after yesterday’s chemo. As if planned, she “bumped into” more than a few welcome faces and a walk that was to take less than an hour was more than doubled. All good though and lots of smiles and steps gained as she navigated Playland and Rye Beach. Being outside is the best of medicine and when Tif can do it, she’s there!
Tif’s day continued to have a few unexpected surprises. She had some visitors, both who came bearing gifts. Hutch, a friend and former co-CYO hoops coach returned from his vacation with a few elephant surprises and a few holistic healing remedies. Then a friend that she traveled to Israel with last year came for a visit bearing gifts. Holly, who is an avid traveler picked up a few trinkets for her on one of her many jaunts. One of those gifts was probably one of the more unique gifts that Tif had ever received — who knew that Thailand made paper out of elephants dung (nicer word for poop). Hoping she shares the notes she writes on this paper with all the Woozles’ in her life and not any of us 😉
Later in the day Tif had yet another unexpected surprise when she ran into her friend and coworker Tyree.
Tif continues to be overwhelmed and taken aback by the tremendous support and love that is being showered upon her. Thank you all. She is extremely humbled and grateful and knows “thank you” will never be enough
Until our next post be on the lookout for Tif’s new stationery 💩. It could be coming to a mailbox near you!
Round Four of Chemo –
Friends, Friends and more friends…
August 30th, 2018
Today Tif had her fourth round of chemo and who knew a chemo session could be so fun, so crowded and so fast. Aside from Tif being overwhelmed with text messages, emails, phone calls, food, and popsicle deliveries she also had a wonderful cast of characters grace her chemo suite. There were so many of us at one point we actually had a warning about how many “could” be in a suite at a time…
I have a feeling Sloan is not used to seeing such an outpouring of support for any one patient!
Prior to starting today’s session Tif wrote the following note to all of you:
“Off to chemo ROUND 4 today. Just wanted to tell you all that NO WAY could I have made it this far so without the love, support and prayers of all of you! You are amazing people and I am so blessed to have you all in my life! I think you all have heard me say – this experience has been as lovely as it could ever be – and that is because of all of U!! I walk out the door this morning a little nervous but extremely confident that your love and strength will carry me though the day! Love you all so much ❤️🙏🏻💪”
Tif is feeling our good energy and it IS working!!! Tif survived the day and all her guests like the true host and friend she is. She is at home re-charging and ready to continue to fight the good fight!
I DON’T think so…
Whatever it is, all we know is that elephants continue to march into our days. How many of you are seeing a whole lot more of these pachyderms, tuskers, mastodons, mammoths or whatever you want to call them or as our good friend Winnie-the-Pooh likes to call them Heffalumps. We can’t make this stuff up so we are going to accept it as one terrific sign each and everytime we see one 🙂
You ARE Raising Tif Up
We are going to leave you with a song that is a touching piece that pays tribute to all of you Team Tif members. True friends and family are the ones who stay with us even when there are troubles, who help us get through hurdles and don’t just stick around for the good stuff. This song was originally released by Secret Garden featuring Brian Kennedy in 2002 and has since been covered by over 100 other artists! Below are both the original version and the cover by Josh Groban.
To all of the Team Tif members this one is for you — YOU all Continue to raise Tif Up and she and her family THANK YOU!
Until our next post be on the lookout for Elephants or whatever you want to call them -all we know is they are a sign of good luck, strength and great HOPE!
Keep those trunks raised 😉, spirits high and if you have to forgive someone today, do it – it will give you a chance to play God for a day! We all can be better, YES WE CAN!
August 24th, 2018
Lessons from Winnie-the-Pooh on life and optimism
One of Tif’s favorite childhood books and all their characters were the Winnie-thePooh series by A. A. Milne. She not only had the bedding, pillow cases and pictures in her bedroom at 21 Ethelridge but she has carried Pooh’s messages about love, acceptance and being kind to each other throughout her days.
Recently, Pooh starred in a Disney film along with a grown-up Christopher Robins in a new film entitled Christopher Robbins. Tif and a few of her team members went to opening night and were not disappointed.
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
This is perhaps one of our personal favorite Pooh quotes (probably because we can all relate to it 😉). It perfectly demonstrates Pooh’s trademark lack of understanding and unwavering sunny optimism all in one beautiful sentence.
- “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.”
- “Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.”
- “A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.”
- “You’re braver than you believe and stronger and smarter than you think.”
- “It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine.”
- “A day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day.”
May everyday be your favorite new day and lets all try to continue to be like Pooh and his wonderful friends!
Walking, friends, faith and signs – is there a connection?
Since our last post …
Tif continues to keep up her AM walks. She has had some incredible friends who have joined her on these jaunts and she also sees many a friends along her way. Signs have become common place and we are all paying attention and looking out for their presence throughout the day. We at Team Tif take no sign for granted. In addition to finding pennies heads up (sign of good luck for day) we have been inundudated with Elephant sightings since the good natured beast has been brought to our attention as a sign of good luck and strength.
Pennies from heaven…?
See a penny, pick it up and all the day you will have good luck
“Elephants, I like elephants…”
Not only are we seeing elephants everywhere we go BUT others are also seeing them too and sending them our way.
There is a saying “there are no accidents” and we are becoming firm believers in this old age truth! For example, a lifelong friend’s mom just gave her her grammar school art portfolio and what was the first picture that she pulled out? You got it, a first grade representation of an elephant. Obviously, Katie H was not only a talented artist BUT an old soul to boot who understood the magic of elephants even way back then. Another dear friend was looking for a bottle of wine and told me she was thinking of Tif at the time as she strolled the aisles and look what she stumbled upon. bought and shared with me. Next sign, was from someone who obviously cares very much about Tif and left a blue turquoise beauty on her front stoop early one AM with NO note. You are now known as the silent elephant giver and we adore old Aqua Blue and you, the mystery gift giver! Tif also just realized that when Thomas was born she bought the gold and cream elephant which has been taking space on one of the shelves in her living room that recently caught her eye and let her know she is going to be A-OK. Another friend is up in Nantucket and look who she was greeted upon along her walk? And the last sign, that will be shared is the gray lady that resides on Mamaroneck Avenue in Mamaroneck, NY. Who knows how long she’s been there BUT all of the sudden it was noticed for the first time and she was saying, “Hey YOU, pay attention, luck and strength abound!” Messages heard loud and clear – duly noted!!!
We are also thankful for the many prayers and prayer groups who continue to meet and keep both Tiffany and so many of our loved ones in their thoughts and hearts. As Ro Horvath so eloquently recently stated “Horvath’s don’t run marathons but we can pray like champs!!!”. And pray we know how to do 🙏
Thank goodness for friends, celebrations, birthdays and just good old LIFE…
Not all Team Tif members (thank God 😉) are representing Tif by running marathons, completing IronMans, swimming in fundraisers or Cycling in the Pan-Mass Challenge (a special shout out to her good friend Nick Gardner who raced this past Saturday in MA to help raise money for life saving cancer research and treatment in Tif’s name). Some of us are just plain old CHAMPS in other areas of life such as organizing get togethers and celebrating friendships, cooking delicious meals, praying, sending well wishes, notes, and thoughtful texts, etc. Tif and her family continues to be overwhelmed by the many touching and moving ways you are supporting her. THANK YOU ALL and to all TO LIFE!
* A girls night out celebrating a birthday and life 😊
- The below quote was sent to us by a good friend
“Keep your face ALWAYS toward the SUNSHINE and shadows will FALL Behind you”
– Tif IS facing the sunshine and thanks to all who are keeping her moving forward and keeping the shadows behind her. Until our next post, keep the faith and believe!
Cycle 3 has begun… day 1
August 8th, 2018
So Tif, and some of her TT members were at Memorial Sloan Kettering in Harrison NY yesterday to begin Cycle 3. All went well and Tif handled the day like a champ. It’s amazing how 9 hours can fly when it is spent engaged in great conversation with good friends and the incredible staff and volunteers at Sloan. The cucumber and lemon water that comes round by the lovely snack cart volunteers also adds to the pleasure of the day. Who knew Chemo could have so many positives 💁.
At this stage Tif is expected to have one more round of Chemo (Cycle 4) prior to surgery, then a CAT scan to see how much of the cancer has melted away thus far (hopefully a lot/ ALL), followed then by a visit with her surgeon (Dr, Gardner) in early September to discuss her upcoming surgery date in early to mid September. Lots of moving parts but the parts are all moving in the right direction!
Tif is still feeling great, and buoyed by all the prayer and good energy being sent her way. She IS feeling it and it is fueling her day with a turbo blast of both vigor and zip.
Thank you for being a friend…
July 31st, 2018
Ok, normally would not post so soon, BUT so many amazing and wonderful things transpired today that one must share. Today during Tif’s walk she was asked. “What does it feel like to have cancer?” and without skipping a beat, Tif responded, “If it feels like this I am ok, it feels like I did before I knew I had cancer, without all the attention.” Gotta love it!
Ok, we started our walk and Hooper met his dream gal 😍 at first sight. We hated to pull them apart BUT as with all good first meetings, we knew they’d meet again!
Proceeded to board walk and were greeted with this awesome message – in case you have not noticed, we pay attention to signs and messages wherever they may lay/be 😉 – it’s just how we roll.
Absolutely gorgeous morning. Breathing deeply and so enjoying the AM
Ok, now getting to the friends part – Tif received an unbelievable package from a friend of hers (Caroline) and of her dad’s filled with an afternoon of laughs, good times and even better looks that she could sport in the near future — who knew?
Team Tif never stops!
Elephants, I like elephants…
Good luck and signs abound. Many a Team Tif (TT) member are finding signs as they go about their day SO all of you should pay attention. This is one of the photos we received today – This Elephant was found on the street by an observant TT member
Although it may be missing a part (BUT trunk is up), who amongst us is perfect?
Another terrific text and photo received today was taken at the Fatima Church in Scarsdale, of the Virgin Mary. Always a great way to end our day – in joy, in prayer, and…
Thanks to all of the TT friends for the endless support and positive energy, she IS feeling it.
Chemo and Walking and Friends Oh My!
July 19th – July 30th
So, it has been twelve days since our last post and it is day 12 in Cycle 2 of Tif’s chemo treatment program. As I type this post it is reminding me of one of my favorite Christmas songs, The Twelve Days of Christmas. The “Twelve Days of Christmas” is an English Christmas carol thought to be French in origin and which was published in England in 1870 without music. It is a cumulative song, much like Chemo, with each verse building on top of the previous verses, just like chemo builds on each cycle.
So far, So Good…
Tif is handling chemo like a champ. And as all champs know some days are better than others BUT we are lucky to have the day 😊 and we will take them all come what may!
These past twelve days have been filled with many early AM walks, lots of visitors, hat shopping, hat tryings on, hair cuts and buzz cuts, wig fittings, wig cuttings and styling, and lots of laughs. In addition to a slew of amazing gifts such as — water from Lourdes, lipsticks, bracelets, cheese danish galore (yum) funny texts, emails, food deliveries, books, treats, fruit salads, flowers, notes, prayer cards, lovely worded mugs, homemade chemo brews, and a whole lot of love — we also had some of our Team Tif founders and star players up, out and in action. First, on 7/22/18 up in Lake Placid, NY were Bill Miller, Niki and Adam Gibbs (with Coach Julio leading the team) who not only competed BUT COMPLETED an Ironman Triathlon . They swam (2.4 miles), biked (112 miles) and then ran a full marathon (26.22 miles) all for our girl Tiffany! Catch our Team Tif Stars featured at 2:54 on the below video ❤️ 🙏💪
In the above photo Bill is pointing to the “TT”on his hand which represents “Team Tif”. We are hoping it is not a tattoo BUT you never know with this group 😉
Less then a week later this same group, with the addition of two more Team Tif Star players, Samuel Gibbs (age 14) and Chris Daly (age 21 +++), took the plunge and swam in the Swim Across America which took place on Saturday 7/28/18. This fundraiser is a LONG and COLD swim in the Long Island Sound starting at the Larchmont Yacht Club and ending at Westchester Country Club. All monies raised go to help fight/stop cancer. We certainly have some dedicated athletes and team players on board fighting on many a front to try and help eradicate cancers once and for all!
Tif is so appreciative of everything that you are all doing in your own way to join her on this journey. She is marching strongly and soldiering on because of all of you and your well wishes and prayers! Please keep them a coming and until our next post let’s be gracious and grateful for all our many blessings.
Continue to march on in service to others – we can make a difference, one kind act/deed at a time.
Same kid new doo…
July 18, 2018
So a week has past since our last post. As with life and as with chemo some days are just plain old tough. But, due to faith, friends and family (elephants too) Tiffany is taking a “thumbs up” and “trunks up” attitude and rolling with all that comes her way!
Although the walks continued, albeit at a slower pace, the effects of chemo on Tif’s hair made her take the proactive step of changing to her new and improved doo, two trips down to NYC’s Sloan Urgent Care and a whole lot of prayer life went on as it always does, one day at a time.
Day 21 (Start of Round 2) of Chemo
Today (7/18/18) Tif is starting Round 2 of Chemo. It may look as though she has been getting beauty treatments and not chemo but that is what having a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) and good friends can do for the spirit. The Flaherty and O’Toole family continue to be overwhelmed with all the love and generosity being showered upon their days. The calls, texts, cards, food, gifts, candles, remedies, tips, etc. are making even the toughest of days a whole lot easier. Who knew there were that many earth angels guiding her (and all of us) to a better place. Thank you all for being the Angels Among Us
Until our next post – Have a thumbs up and trunks up kinda day!
What a Wonderful World
Saturday was a stellar day in Rye and Tif and team decided to take advantage of the beauty surrounding them. They headed out to Playland and the sky could not have been a more perfect blue. As long as Tif is feeling “ok” she will go with the flow and keep up her exercise routine and life.
Later that day Tif met up with some amazing friends and family and celebrated “just because”. As tough and difficult as life can be some days/times it is just as important to stop, appreciate and count the MANY blessings we have and NOT just our problems.
Fresh air, good conversations, the beauty of the day, being with family and friends — what more could one ask for? As Bob Thiele and George Weiss so eloquently wrote in 1968 and sung by Louis Armstrong, “What a WONDERFUL WORLD”
Tif had some of her family surrounding her in the AM and they started their day with some quality time shared over a good cup of Joe, Patisserie Satzberg’s Cheese Danish (yeah, they are as good as they sound!) riveting conversation’s ranging from the Autobiography of a Yogi, Sergey Brin and his mining of etherum, benefits of wheat grass juice and other medicinal herbs, all the way to genealogy/family history. Oh, and Pitt basketball was briefly discussed as well as the fun night they had the night before. Tif’s garden had a bit of blue hydrangea peaking through to match both the Virgin Mary’s blue mantle and the beautiful blue sky.
After a long morning chat it was time to hit the road. The weather was again picture perfect so they decided to put their foot imprints on the day. Who knew there was MORE they could find to chat about! But there was and chat they did!
Day ended in another celebration with good friends, food, talk and confidence that ALL WILL be well!
“If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is “thank you”, that would suffice” – Meister Eckhart
DAY 9, 10, 11(of Cycle 1) After Chemo
That’s Life…. Riding high in “May”, shot down in “June”…
July 8th , 2018
This is life…
Since our last post (and thank you to all those who missed this update page and reached out to find out where we have been) much has transpired. Tif, woke up on July 6th not feeling so great. So, we follow the body’s sign and she stays put. Although they tell us Chemo does not have to show signs that let us know it is working, some days are just plain old tough and we go with our gut
and we just stay put.
The phone calls, texts, flowers, food and gifts continue to be overwhelming. WOW, is all we can say.
July 7th, 2018
Tif felt a bit better but the weather and her health was just as iffy as her physical state. It was one of those rainy day’s that made you want to stay in and just chill and that’s just what she did between work, chores, and playing with Hooper. Hooper by the way may look like a Dog but he is not only the families BFF but he is now Tif’s official body guard and will not leave her side. All those who know him are witnessing just how in tune this dog is — he knows something is “up” with Tif and is on call 24/7. There is a reason Dog spelled backwards is God and now we know why 👍
Later that afternoon we received some sad news regarding a lifelong friend and neighbor to all of the O’Toole’s. Amy Magnotta Puma (daughter of Carl and Pat Mag, sister to Debbie and Mark Mag), who had just given birth to a gorgeous baby boy on 6/28/18 had suffered a Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA) and was found unconscious at her apartment in NYC. She was rushed to Cornell Medical Center where she underwent immediate surgery. She is currently in the ICU and stable. We are sharing this news because our prayer request just got a whole lot larger! Amy is only 45 and has a four and 1/2 year old daughter in addition to her 10 day old baby boy Jack and her terrific husband Chris. On Friday night every thing was touch and go… Moving forward to today (7/9/18) Amy has shown miraculous improvements and our fingers are crossed for a full and complete recovery. Her road will be a long and tough one but we White Plains kids are a force to be reckoned with.
DAY 8 (of Cycle 1) After Chemo
Walking, Elephants and “Twins”
July 5th, 2018
Today Tif woke up feeling great again and was ready to take on the world. She went for her walk a little later but was was blessed to have her sister-in-law Joanie join her. When they got out of the car Joanie looked down and discovered the above Gold Elephant twinkling on the blacktop. A little history here: When Tif was first diagnosed her good friend Deb gave her an elephant bracelet and told her it was for good luck and protection. And since that day forward Tif has had elephants with their trunks turned up randomly popping into her life/day, as if they were sending her a private message, “You’re going to be ok, we are protecting you and bringing you luck”. Elephants have been turing up on t-shirts, pocketbooks, belts, and even songs. Hello? We are getting the message and are thankful that good luck and protection are following her around (any and all help taken, even a random elephant siting on the blacktop of a parking lot accepted, thank you very much 😉).
Walking, Elephants, and Twins
As the walk progressed and the elephant was put safely away Tif and Joanie ran into some friends, continued their stroll and then noticed there was quite the commotion on the board walk with a police scooter shooting down the pier. The police officer stopped Tif and Joanie and inquired if either one of them were **”MaryLou”. They both responded with a “NO” and the officer was on his way. What we later came to learn is that Joanie has a “twin” somewhere in this world and her name is **”MaryLou”. Glad they found that elephant who brought them not only protection but also luck today from avoiding a possible arrest and mistaken identity. Never know what a stroll at Playland may bring!
**Name changed to protect the innocent (specially Tif and Joanie)
*Note: Only listen to the first 13 seconds of the above song
*Warning: I promise you that you will be singing this catchy tune ALL day
**NOTE: You were warned 😉
July, 4th, 2018 —
Put One Foot In Front Of The Other…
DAY 7 (of Cycle 1) After Chemo 🇺🇸
Today is July 4th and Tif is having a great day! She is feeling as good as she looks and had a terrific walk this morning. She was down at Playland enjoying both the view and the balmy weather.
Teaghan is off for an 11 day hoop extravaganza and luckily we captured a family photo before her departure.
The Flaherty’s are sending you their love and well wishes for a fabulous 4th and a great weekend. Remember to always put that one foot forward and keep on moving. God bless you all and God bless America!
click on the flag to hear Kate Smith sing God Bless America (one of her first times singing it AND no, it’s not Lizanne signing it 😉).
July 2 & 3, 2018
DAY 5 and 6 (of Cycle 1) After Chemo
Guests in the House, Walking and a Thumbs Up Attitude
Sunday and Monday were busy days at the Flaherty O’Toole home. Tif had a few friends and family pop on over and the house has been hopping. Lots of laughs and smiles, upbeat stories, get well packages with not only loving touches but many home remedies shared on how to treat some of the new symptoms she is experiencing.
Tif is still feeling OK but the chemo is causing aches and pains where she once had none. The exhaustion is “there” but she continues to move along with the speed and determination of a young kid on a mission. She IS reading all the articles you are sending and is trying many of the home treatments that have been shared.
The O’Toole Flaherty household is being charged daily by all the positivity that is being sent its way. The flowers, the gifts, the food, the oils, the desserts, etc are making for not only a happy home but a very grateful one. If the love already shown to Tif and family could beat this disease Tif would be 100% cured today!
Tif has always tried to live her life with a positive mental attitude. Her parent’s, Dorothy and Tom O’Toole, believed and instilled this value in her at a young age. A “thumbs up” was a given when asked how one felt in her home growing up and it is still the characteristic trait remembered by many when recalling her dad. As we go about the rest of the week, let us try to remember the advice and sage words given by author and Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl:
- “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Let’s consciously choose a thumb’s up attitude today and always – Be more like Tif 👍
July 1st, 2018
DAY 4 (of Cycle 1) After Chemo
Looking Good, Feeling OK
So, four days in and Tif is feeling OK. Aside from nausea, feeling tired, and aches and pains in her joints she is feeling surprisingly good for someone who just had her first blast of chemo. Her spirits are high and her energy this AM matched her positive attitude. She took an early morning walk to Playland and walked the boardwalk and pier. She chatted it up with the fisherman and than decided to call it a day and get home to do some laundry (a mother’s work is never done!).
These past few days Tif has been truly touched and overwhelmed by the many texts, calls, flowers, food, emails, notes, prayer cards, medallions, visitors, and awesome gifts (ranging all the way from baseball caps, popcorn, a various assortment of home goods and yes even furniture). The kindness, generosity and outpouring of love being showered upon her is definitely carrying her to a better place both mentally and physically. Good work Team Tif ❤️😊👍
Have a great Sunday and today let’s be like Tif and continue to keep our spirits elevated! As Norman Vincent Peale used to say “We all have the power within us to keep our spirits high”. And what is this inner power? Simply, the God given ability to BELIEVE. To the extent to which you develop this faculty, you will be able to master the defeats and lows in your life. The great issue is to learn to believe. This is stated eloquently in one of the most important of all Scripture passages:
- Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark Mark 9:23