Ringing the Bell after my Final Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer | Battling Bertha #25

Today is Thanksgiving here in the USA.  I have much for which to be thankful this year.

It may seem odd to many that I feel gratitude during a time in which I am battling for my life.  Yet, there are so many reasons to feel grateful.  I found Bertha early.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I have very good health insurance.  I have amazing doctors and caregivers.  My family has been beyond supportive.  My friends have been true soldiers in my battle.  Both my greeting card business, and the custom furniture company I run with my husband, continue to do well.  My cup truly runneth over.

Today, I am filled with appreciation as I share photos from an event that took place 10 days ago, my final dose of radiation therapy for breast cancer.

Ringing the Bell after Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

I received 36 daily doses of radiation therapy for breast cancer, interrupted by a short hospitalization. On November 17, 2014 I celebrated my final therapy session by adding my pink hand print to the wall leading into the therapy room and then an enthusiastic ringing of the bell.

Shanta was there for almost every dose of radiation therapy I received. Her last day at the center was Friday, the 14th, and so she was going to miss my final day. I am so grateful to Shanta for taking her lunch hour from her new job to come and celebrate with me!

Mimi is the receptionist, she keeps things running smoothly in the office and would stash my favorite candy to the side so there was always a piece for me to enjoy before therapy.

Shanta and Mimi

Shanta and Mimi

Dr. Lewis has a big heart and very patiently answered all of my questions. Her nurse, Beverly, was not in the office for my celebration, but it should be noted that she is very sweet and kind, as well.

Dr. Lewis, my Radiation Oncologist

Dr. Lewis, my Radiation Oncologist

Unless you are a regular follower of my blog, you are probably wondering why George Clooney is in the all the photos. I named the radiation machine (linear accelerator) George Clooney. I figured if someone was going to see me naked everyday, it might as well be George Clooney.

This machine is George Clooney

This machine is George Clooney.

Lacey is the lead therapist at the clinic.  Did you know that becoming a radiation therapist requires a 5-year bachelor of science degree in Radiation Therapy and that less than a handful of schools in Texas offer the degree program?  It’s a highly specialized field and requires a warm personality, as well as, smarts.

Lacey, the lead Radiation Therapist

Lacey, the lead Radiation Therapist

The staff at Apollo Cancer Center were all wonderful. Rafael, another of my regular therapists was not there for my final treatment, but you can see a photo of him dressed us Gru from Despicable Me here.  I can’t say that I will miss therapy, but I will always think fondly of the staff.

I can't say I'll miss therapy, but these ladies made it fun.

I can’t say I’ll miss therapy, but these ladies made it fun.

Lacey was inspired to start the tradition of collecting patient hand prints on the wall leading into the therapy room after their final treatment by the clinic where she served her residency. It was rather inspiring to know that all those patients had survived the process before me.

Celebrating with all who came before me.

Celebrating with all who came before me.

I chose to make my hand print pink.

Okay, so survived might be a harsh word.

Pink for Breast Cancer

Pink for Breast Cancer.

It’s not that radiation therapy hurts, it doesn’t. Well, the radiation burns suck. It is just a rather emotional experience.

I'm pinked up and ready to print.

I’m pinked up and ready to print.

I mean seriously, here I am bald, laying on a table with my deformed, scarred breast exposed, while people I just recently met move me around on a narrow table and write with permanent markers on my bare skin.

Choosing to to find the humor in the situation made it bearable. I share more about coping with emotions during radiation therapy in a post from several weeks ago.

I can't believe I let them take pictures of me without my wig!

I can’t believe I let them take pictures of me without my wig!

So, it was not hard for me to take one of those very same permanent markers and sign my name on the wall next to my pink hand print.

It's Official.  I'm done!

It’s Official. I’m done!

After getting dressed, I headed back to the lobby where my friend Tanya was waiting to help me complete the final task. the ringing of the bell:

I am not sure who started the tradition of bell ringing. I couldn’t find much info on Google. If you know how the tradition came about, please share in the comments.  I do know that it was very satisfying to ring that bell.

A huge thank you to Tanya for coming out to celebrate with me!

Thank You Tanya for Celebrating with Me!

Thank You Tanya for Celebrating with Me!

I will probably share one or two more posts about radiation therapy because it was such a huge part of my treatment plan, and I feel like I need to share a little more.  For example, how I treated the radiation burns.  All in due time.

Today, I will enjoy my family and the amazing non-traditional Korean meal I prepared in lieu of turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble! Gobble!

Kandas

Photo Calendar Creator | #BlogBoost

Photo Calendar Creator

Photo calendars make great gifts! You can “Grow Your Business with Gratitude” by creating custom photo calendars for your clients. SendOutCards has a dynamic photo calendar creator that allows you to add photos to the cover, the month and each day of the month. You can even include text! Creating a custom photo calendar for your business is easy with drag and drop technology.

photo-calendar-creator

Calendar Details

  • 11″x8.5″ landscape
  • 12 month calendar (start on any month)
  • Personalize any date with photos and text
  • Full color, printed on premium paper
  • Saddle-stitched binding
  • $12.99/each plus shipping

Fundraising with Photo Calendars

Here’s a novel idea, why not use your photo calendars to raise funds and awareness for your favorite cause?

The calendar featured in the video was created by Lone Star Animal Welfare League for just that reason.  Here is how they did it:

  • The cover and 12 month photos spots featured dogs that had been rescued by LSAWL.
  • The “day” photos were sold to dog owners who provided a photo of their dog.
  • The finished calendars were sold at a mark up.

Of course, anyone who purchased a spot in the calendar wanted to also purchase a calendar, and a few extras to give as gifts!  It was a huge success.

What about you?   What are some ideas you have for creating photo calendars?

PS – Thank you to Tanya Lavoie for hanging out with me while we filmed the video.

Look 5 Years Younger and Get More Done V031

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

This week’s “Coffee & Cards Conversation with Gratitude Geek” features 5 savvy business women from The Woodlands and Conroe, Texas. We chat about setting SMARTer goals in health and business, plus one simple thing you can do that will make you instantly look 5 years younger. It’s all good stuff, so watch.

 

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

Connect with the Coffee & Cards Conversationalists:

The Kindness Jar is available from SendOutCards gift store. For a free trial of this powerful online greeting card and gifting system call 936-718-7099 or visit my SendOutCards website and click “Send A Card.”

Interested in having a Coffee & Cards Conversation with Kandas?  Leave a comment below.

“Don’t frown because your smile is what lighten up the world.”

V024 Tanya Lavoie Grows Real Estate Business with Greeting Cards

In this Coffee and Cards Conversation with Tanya Lavoie of Gary Green Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate we share tips on how you can grow your real estate business with greeting cards.

 

Transcript

IMG_0801 Kandas:  Kandas Rodarte of GratitudeGeek.info sitting here with Tanya Lavoie of Gary Green Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. And we’re going to talk a little bit today about how greeting cards can help you grow real estate business. But before I do that, I want to share with you some of the cards that I received this week, it is the week before Christmas. This is a lovely card, that’s a 2-panel card that costs $0.62. This is a great card from a real estate agent that we both know who’s commercial, and it’s a picture of her and her husband and a beautiful template. This card was only $0.93. Here’s another beautiful card with a picture; a $0.93 card. This is the card that my husband created for our holiday card.

Tanya: I love it!

Kandas: It’s a caricature that he drew and our daughter colored and inside we had a picture of ourselves being silly and a little bit of a story. This card was just $0.93 plus postage. The other exciting thing that I receive in the mail this week is this Greeting Card Revolution t-shirt! It came in this beautiful box from the company that I work with and it just means that I have decided to get paid to be nice and join the Greeting Card Revolution. Fun, huh? So let’s talk about what you do.

Tanya: Well, I’m a real estate agent here in the Montgomery County area and Harris County, too. I’ve here, now, 3 years – love the area and my job and my clients and my friends. All is good.

Kandas: Why did you choose real estate?

Tanya: I chose real estate in the beginning because I thought it would give me a “mom-schedule.” I had two young children and I thought, “Oh, this will give me a good mommy schedule,” but I’m not sure that’s the case, but it is flexible.

Kandas: You can work your own hours.

Tanya: Yeah, I can work my own hours and decide just how busy I want to be.

Kandas: Somebody asked me recently how I can do all the things I can do and I said “Because I enjoy everything that I do and I don’t do anything unless I’m having fun.”

Tonya Lavoie B 96dpiTanya: Right. Exactly and I do love what I do and really it’s just helping people and that’s one of the things about me. What I like to do is help people and that’s what real estate is.

Kandas: That’s a very good business tip, by the way. Pick a business that you have so much fun doing that it’s not work. So tell me… I know the story, but I think the audience needs to know about what you did for ten years of your life when you were very young.

Tanya: I lived on a sail boat and sailed around the world and raised babies and —

Kandas: You raised babies on a sail boat?

Tanya: Yes I did. I varnished and that’s how I supported myself and my husband–

Kandas: Varnishing boats?

Tanya: Varnishing their boats, yes. Mine was like the template. so when we would go into port and go to a marina, people would say “Oh my gosh! your boat is beautiful!” “I can do that for you.” That was quite as long time ago, I got paid $15/hour to make their boats look pretty.

Kandas: Wow! And then after you lived on a sail boat for ten years you did something else that’s pretty remarkable.

Tanya: okay, I didn’t know you were going to put me on the spot. I got my pilots license and my commercial license. I ran a flight school at an airport in Maine. My husband ran the maintenance department. That was really cool, too. I loved that. Again, my passion during that time was helping the teenagers. We’d give them free half hour lesson and the teenagers would come and fly.

Kandas: I wish you were still an instructor.

Tanya: That would be so cool.

Kandas: That’s total bucket list right there: Learning to fly. And, it would be really cool learning to fly from you.

Tanya: Okay.

Kandas: Because that means you’re a good instructor.

Tanya: Well, it’s been a long time, but thank you for the compliment.

Kandas: Wow! Okay, so, I was listening to a training tape…I don’t even think I remember what I was listening to because I listen to so much on audio while I’m working, but Jim Rohn said that people are not trees and that we were meant to move, not just stand still, not to be rooted — and people get rooted so easily. I know that one of the things that you do is that you help your clients relocate.

Tanya: Correct.

Kandas: So tell me about some of the services that you offer to people who are relocating.

Tanya: Okay, so when they’re moving here and they don’t know, they’ve never been to Houston, or the Woodlands, or Magnolia, or Conroe, or whatever it is, the first thing I do is I find out what they’re family is. You know, kids? Are they coming with elderly parents? What do they need? What do their kids do? What do they swim? Do they play football? All those kinds of things… Any special needs that they might have… Then I put together a relocation packet that’s specific to that family…

IMG_0799Kandas: Wow. That’s remarkable.

Tanya: So that they can then walk in and talk to this coach, or go get their nails done here, or whatever it might be from simple to really complex. It might be they need home health care for their elderly parent… so, all of that goes into a packet.

Kandas: Wow. That’s called appreciation marketing, relationship marketing. When you work with a client based on their individual needs and you really put a lot of focus onto what they need, and being kind to them, and showing them that you’re grateful for their business, and extraordinary ways. Something –I know that you can’t do, because unless I missed something, you’re not an ordained minister.

Tanya: No.

Kandas: But when we bought our first and our second home, we used a real estate agent who was an older man, very kind and he was also an ordained minister and he knew that we were planning our wedding. We bought our house and we were planning to get married three months later. So, he offered to be our minister (free-of-charge) at our wedding.

Tanya: Really cool.

Kandas: Now, not every real estate agent can offer that extra service, but just going above and beyond makes all the difference in the world and you better believe that every single referral that we ever got or we every had for real estate went to him after that. he’s no longer with us. He passed away a few years ago.

Tanya: Okay, well that’s sad, but now I can be your real estate agent.

Kandas: You do get my referrals.

Tanya: I know, I do. Thank you and I’m very grateful.

Kandas: I remember I sent you a referral for six houses. Something like that – something outrageous.

Tanya: Yes, you did.

Kandas: Okay, so speaking of real estate and how to market it. Tell me about your greeting card story. How did you use a greeting card to get more business?

Tanya: Well, really that boils down to you. You sent me a couple of example. Well, you cards you sent me just for me are awesome and I’m very impressed with them. “Oh my gosh! This is so cool.” Then, obviously we’ve talked and you’ve shown me some samples and I’ve used them and they’ve worked. Like the “For sale by Owner” campaign, it was a listing that I got through Send Out Cards. Just sending them once a week, something that would help them with their home, and giving them some tips, after the third card I got a phone call.

Kandas: So, once a week you sent them a card with tips to help them sell their homes?

Tanya: Correct.

Kandas: And they were just a “for sale by owner” listing that you saw?

Tanya: Just driving by a neighborhood.

Kandas: That’s really good.

Tanya: It’s is awesome and I’m very thankful for you because actually, it was your idea.

Kandas: Really? It was?

Tanya: Send Out Cards was really… My clients like it. I get compliments all the time because I can make it specific to them – a picture of their home and picture of their family, versus just going to the store and buying a generic card. That’s just making it personal.

Kandas: So, very recently, you decided to add greeting cards and gifts as another income stream. Talk to me about that.

Tanya: Well, I discovered that I can actually give it to my clients so that when they close, when they move into a home, I can give them a set of cards that are change of addresses and things that take it to the next level. So, I’ve just taken it to the next level and hopefully that will –I haven’t done it yet, but that’ll be my very next client that will have a stack of cards for change of address. I’m really looking forward to that.

Kandas: Awesome! I love this concept of showing appreciation from all aspects of the sale. So the real estate agent, the mortgage broker, the handyman, the..

Tanya: home inspector…

Kandas: pressure washer, the home inspector, the air conditioning dude, anybody who had anything to do with the sale of the home sends a thank you card to the buyer and the seller. And that that team just became the super team and everybody who ever talks about wanting to buy a home suddenly says “I know who you should talk to because she has a terrific team!”

Tanya: Yup.

Kandas: Appreciation is the best advertisement you can do.

Tanya: Absolutely. Yup.

Kandas: Well this has been really fun. I do want to pitch myself one more time.

Tanya: Okay, go.

kandas-cardsKandas: On January 25th, I am giving a public speaking workshop at the Power Pink Studio here in Conroe. It’s from 9AM until noon on January 25th and I will teach you the trick that I use to wow the CEO of the company that I worked for when I was just 23 years old and I became his go to person in that department. I was just 23 years old and I had the ear of a CEO of a major corporation. So that is January 25, it’s called “On Target Speaking: Breaking the Ice” You can register on my website GratitudeGeek.info. Thanks for chatting today with me Tanya.

Tanya: Thank you for having me.

Kandas: Kandas Rodarte, GratitudeGeek.info.

V002 Coffee Talk with Glenna Griffin and Tanya Lavoie

What do you say when you meet someone at a networking event? How do you grow your business networking? Listen to tips from business networking masters Travel Diva Glenna and Tanya Lavoie of Living In the Woodlands.

Travel Diva Glenna is the Queen of networking in The Woodlands, Texas. Tanya Lavoie runs a very large chapter of a national networking group in Magnolia, Texas. Both are well qualified to share best practices tips on the subject of business networking.

Interview: Tanya Lavoie with Gary Greene Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate

Tanya Lavoie, Real Estate Professional

Tanya Lavoie, Real Estate Professional

Tanya Lavoie is a successful Real Estate professional with Gary Greene Better Homes & Gardens in the Houston, Texas area.  She is the mother of two teenage daughters and the director of a thriving networking group for women.

“Look for support.  Be with people who will support and teach you.  Be gentle with yourself – life has a learning curve. “

MG:  Sum up your business in three sentences or less.

TL:  I am a realtor who specializes in residential homes.  I am a relocation specialist and enjoy finding homes for folks who are relocating from out of state.  I work with buyers and sellers

MG:  Where do you sell your products?

TL: Magnolia, The Woodlands, Spring areas

MG:  Why did you choose to start your business?

TL: Looking to be self employed.  I needed a flexible schedule.

MG:  Where do you find new clients?

TL: Referrals!

MG:  What makes your product or service different?  Why should someone purchase from you instead of your competition?

TL:  5 Star Customer Service

MG:  For whom are you thankful?

TL:  My clients, friends, family.

MG:  What are some of your favorite books?

TL:  Water for Elephants,  Think and Grow Rich

MG:  Define your style?

TL:  CASUAL!

MG:  Tell me about your typical day.

TL: Up at 5am to take my daughter to swim practice.  I make sure the animals are fed and walked.  I check my emails and facebook account.  By 9am I am working with clients, networking, or learning about real estate.  By evening my mom hat comes back on!

MG:  How do you juggle work and family?

TL:  By juggling!  It is not always easy.  A planner and setting boundaries is necessary.  I am not always perfect – especially since I want to be there for everyone!

MG:  Three tips you would like to give to moms who are thinking about starting their own business?

TL:  Look for support.  Be with people who will support and teach you.  Be gentle with yourself – life has a learning curve.  Be good at time management and set priorities.

MG:  How have you grown as a person since starting your company?

TL:  I am still learning.  I have learned to say NO to some clients who might not respect my time.  I have learned to carve time for family and for myself.  I give a lot to my clients but now I have learned to turn off my phone, or take at least ONE day off.  I like to help new business owners grow.

MG:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

TL:  With an assistant and my broker’s license.

MG:  What else would you like to add?

TL:  Have FUN!


Connect with Tanya Lavoie:

Website:  www.livinginthewoodlands.com

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/livinginthewoodlands

Twitter:  @tanyashoutsout