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Judi’s Personal Blog

In her own words, follow this cancer survivor’s transition to escape the her daily reminders from her battle with leukemia. Judi’s chemotherapy was arsenic, a poisonous substance, which ultimately killed the cancer but which prematurely aged her.

Judi’s Dress Fiasco

· With her daughter's wedding only days away, Judi finds herself scrambling to find a dress. ·

As Mother-of-the-Bride, I should be calming my daughter down in these final days before the wedding, but my daughter had to calm ME down because the dress I had shipped to Texas didn’t fit!!!!! It was the third dress I ordered online from the same company and I thought for sure that number three would be the charm. That’s not what happened. The first dress I ordered was too small; the second one, too big (and it couldn’t be altered); and this one was too small – again! I freaked out. But my daughter Hillary took control, driving me to David’s Bridal on Friday and – thank God – I found the perfect dress. Not what you want to be dealing with when you are in charge of the wedding!

I do take great comfort in knowing how much better I look heading into this wedding versus my son’s wedding a year and a half ago. The cancer really ravaged me, making me look a decade older; I didn’t recognize the woman in those wedding pictures. Now, I feel so relaxed and confident about my appearance thanks to Dr. Lori. I actually look forward to seeing the pictures! It also helps that everyone down here keeps telling me how great I look. My future son-in-law Charlie told me he’s seen a dramatic difference in my appearance since April when I came for the shower. Not surprising because I’ve had multiple treatments in the past seven weeks: Botox; filler in my chin, cheeks, and lips; multiple HydraFacials and an IPL treatment on my neck. I feel completely rejuvenated, as if the 10-years that cancer added to my appearance have magically melted away in the past six months. I’ve also been given some great make-up tips for the wedding so I know I will be looking my absolute best. I’m sure the tears I shed when I look at these photos will be tears of joy, not tears of pain.

The truth is I still have so much to do before Saturday that I really haven’t focused too much on my appearance! My big worry is getting the room ready for the reception. We have five hours on Friday afternoon to transform a conference room at The Bravos Center into a magical ballroom. I’ve designed most of the decorations myself: we’ll be covering the white walls with sheers and twinkling white lights, adorning all of the chairs with bows, and setting up the photo booth – a lot of work for our crew of six people! Once that’s finished, it’s on to the rehearsal dinner! I’m so excited and anxious; it’s hard for me to settle down. I am so excited for my daughter’s wedding. She says she is gladly sharing the day with me but all eyes will be on her. She is so beautiful inside and out; and I’m just so proud to be her mother. I just want to look and feel my best for her. I want her to be proud of me.

Thank-you Dr. Lori Greenwald, Amanda, and Jodi for helping me get back to who I was before I had cancer. I’m so excited for Saturday on so many different levels.

BE sure to follow us on Facebook Saturday for live updates and pictures.

Judi Showered With Compliments At Daughter’s Wedding

Judi Showered With Compliments At Daughter’s Wedding

I’m still riding the high of my daughter’s shower – even though I’ve been back for two weeks now! She looks great and seems so happy! It’s such a rewarding feeling as a mother to see her glow. The great thing is: I’m glowing too; thanks to all of the treatments I’m receiving from Dr. Lori. My daughter Hilary – and all of my friends in Texas – have been following my Transitions journey on Facebook every step of the way but I think they were surprised with the results when they saw me in person. Everyone said I looked really good. The best part is: I feel like I look really good, too! These treatments make me look like a younger version of myself.

I feel so much more confident preparing for Hilary’s “Big Day” compared to how beaten down and aged I felt at my son’s wedding a year ago. It’s so empowering! I think the biggest boost to my appearance actually came from the fillers I got this week. I told Amanda it was so easy to put blush on now because I can finally see my cheeks again. There’s still a little bruising and swelling which is totally normal. Once the side effects subside, I know I’ll be even more amazed at how I’ve managed to reclaim my youth.

I would recommend the fillers to anyone. You can see the results immediately! My friends told me if they had the money, they would absolutely do some of these procedures themselves. That made me realize, once again, how lucky I am to receive this exclusive pampering. I still have several more treatments to go so I know when they see me for the wedding in June, there will be even bigger changes.. Next up: Botox. And, a bonus: I have a dentist from Manchester named Dr. Daar who is working with me to whiten my teeth. I never expected this! He heard about my story and wants to help improve my smile! So instead of avoiding the camera at the wedding, I’ll be jumping in front of it…and beaming !

Finding Inspiration On The Shepherd’s Diet!

· Why Some Call It 'The Bible Diet.' ·

Finding Inspiration On The Shepherd’s Diet!

It’s hard to believe my daughter’s wedding is right around the corner. Just like every mother of the bride, I want to lose weight before the big day so I can fit into a smaller dress. I’m aiming to drop 40 pounds. Normally, Weight Watchers is my “go to” diet, but this time around, I’m trying something new because I can’t make the meetings with my work schedule. It’s called The Shepherd’s Diet. I saw it on Facebook and thought “Why not give it a shot?” So far, so good. In two months, I’ve lost 11 pounds. People keep telling me how great I look!

This diet is so much easier for me to follow than Weight Watchers. I don’t have to weigh food or count calories so I’m not obsessing about what I’m going to eat next. Basically, you’re eating the food that’s mentioned in the Bible. So a lot of meat, nuts, dairy and vegetables. My big splurge is strawberries, which I can have with heavy whipping cream! I love this diet because I can eat three meals a day and I’m never hungry! I figure it’s because I’m eating so much more protein, which keeps me feeling satisfied.

For breakfast I usually eat eggs scrambled with veggies, cheese and sausage or bacon. On Monday, I make enough to last the week so I can divide it up and eat it every morning before work. I admit…I’m not a huge fan of veggies so that’s a little bit of a challenge. For lunch, I have a protein and for supper, it’s a salad with some meat on it. I don’t have to keep track of anything. I just avoid sugar and carbs. The truth is, I’ve never gotten results this quick.

I had a big surprise when the dress I ordered online for the wedding arrived and it was too big! The dress is gorgeous and really flattering – it makes me look like I have a smaller waist. I’m keeping it but I need to find a good seamstress to do the alterations. At this rate, I’m sure I’ll lose more weight so I need to figure out the timing before I do the final fitting; a good problem to have, right? 🙂

The treatments with Dr. Lori have already boosted my confidence. This weight loss is just an added bonus. I knew I had to play my own role in this Transition.

A Patient Once Again

A Patient Once Again

A PATIENT ONCE AGAIN

A Patient Once Again.

I’ve been told I have a high tolerance for pain because the side effects from arsenic, used as my chemotherapy, really weren’t that bad. Sure, I had headaches, was nauseous and slept all the time but I didn’t lose all my hair. However, It did fall out in patches but I still didn’t have to wear a wig.

Not even poison could take away my hair but it did prematurely age me; I feel like I look ten years older.

Today, I am a patient once again. Except this time, I’m not fighting for my life, I’m just fighting to get my life back to the way it was…

Once upon a time…

We teach our children to believe in happy endings and fairytales; now,  I feel like I am living one of my own. Dr. Lori Greenwald is determined to help me with my transition to erase the daily reminders of cancer I see in my reflection. You might call her my very own fairy godmother/doctor. 🙂

Dr. Greenwald shares a smile with Judi Kirkpatrick during her vein procedure.

With every procedure, I see a part of me coming back to the way I looked before I had cancer. And this week was a busy week at Vanishing Veins and Vivesse Med Spa. I went in for my second vein treatment. I admit it’s a little bit uncomfortable but the pay off is worth the discomfort. I can already see a big difference in my legs after the first treatment, which was only two weeks ago. I used the all-natural healing supplement Arnica to reduce the swelling and bruising and it worked really well. I’m relieved that Dr. Lori Greenwald is treating my varicose and spider veins now because my legs will look so much better by then end of May, when I head back to Texas for my daughter’s wedding. She hasn’t seen me in person since the end of September, so I’m sure she will be in shock at my transformation!

(Left to Right) HydraFacial MD, IPL light therapy for sun spots on her chest, PIxel laser skin resurfacing.

In addition to the veins, I had Juvashape to tighten up the skin under my neck and an IPL photofacial, which uses pulses of light to reduce age lines. It takes a little planning to manage the appointments with my work schedule but I’m blessed because my boss is very flexible since I put in so many hours at Chlor- Alkali. Not to mention that the guys at the plant love watching my progress! They think I’m brave to endure these treatments. But then again, they’re guys. They don’t understand the price of beauty. 😉

Cancer Campground, Right This Way.

Honestly, trying to keep all my appointments at Dr. Lori Greenwald’s Vanishing Veins and Vivesse Med Spa is nothing. This is a piece of cake compared to the arsenic infusions that cured my leukemia. It’s really no big deal running to Dr. Lori’s a few times a week – I mean, I lived in a camper on a campground next to the hospital when I was treated for cancer. That was a dark time. My husband had relocated to Connecticut and the treatment schedule was so intense I needed to stay close by because we lived an hour and a half from the hospital. Fortunately, my son would come and stay with me to keep me company. The campground was full of cancer patients like me, who were all undergoing daily treatment. Not exactly what I’d consider a vacation, but it definitely was convenient.

A cancer campground, I don’t think that would go over as a big travel destination for anyone but for me, it was part of my journey to where I am today. I just can’t wait to see my daughter on her wedding day and I want to make her proud of me,  just like I am of her. And I am so grateful to Dr. Lori and her amazing staff for helping me to get there.

To hear Doctor Lori talk about Judi’s transition click here. 

 

My Wife Is Always There For Everyone Else.

My Wife Is Always There For Everyone Else.

David Kirkpatrick talks about his wife Judi and her battle with cancer. To read more about their story and how they fought cancer together click here.  David was transferred to Connecticut during her Judi’s  treatment but he flew back to Connecticut on weekends to be with his wife. During all this, David says  his wife just wanted to be there for everyone else.

IN JUDI’S OWN WORDS:

My husband David is my rock. He’s been by my side through the cancer diagnosis, the cancer treatments, the cancer recovery, the Vivesse Med Spa procedures–through every step of this Transitions journey. He’s been there for me, supporting me, and cheering me on.

David already sees a difference since Dr. Lori Greenwald began working with me a few weeks ago. In fact, the people at work, my friends, everyone wants me to keep them updated and they all say my appearance is improving. To a woman like me (who is no longer considered young in this youth culture but who has a lot of good living yet to do) it feels great to see people examine my face watch as the light goes on in their eyes and a smile come to their face.  TO READ MORE OF JUDI’S BLOG, CLICK HERE. 

My Cancer Diagnosis Was My Husband’s Fight Too.

My Cancer Diagnosis Was My Husband’s Fight Too.

 

My husband David is my rock. He’s been by my side through the cancer diagnosis, the cancer treatments, the cancer recovery, the Vivesse Med Spa procedures–through every step of this Transitions journey. He’s been there for me, supporting me, and cheering me on.

David already sees a difference since Dr. Lori Greenwald began working with me a few weeks ago. In fact, the people at work, my friends, everyone wants me to keep them updated and they all say my appearance is improving. To a woman like me (who is no longer considered young in this youth culture but who has a lot of good living yet to do) it feels great to see people examine my face watch as the light goes on in their eyes and a smile come to their face.

How fortunate I am. I’m going through life with a partner who loves me and is as committed to my Transitions journey as I am. My cancer diagnosis (the day after my 53rd birthday, no less) wasn’t just my battle but David’s battle, too. When I got that devastating diagnosis, he was there to hold my hand and tell me we’d get through this. And we had many challenges to face together including the fact that his company transferred him during my chemotherapy treatment.

Back when I was in the hospital for the cancer treatment, David was at the hospital every chance he had. Even though he had to work and we lived an hour and half from the hospital and we’re not the wealthiest people around, David made his hospital visits a priority. He’d spend his off days with me. He brought our camper to the hospital so he’d have someplace to sleep (other than the little cot in my room) and shower.

Then another hurdle got thrown into our path. During my outpatient treatment David’s company asked him to come to Connecticut to help the steel mill here. (We lived in Texas at the time.) They would fly him home at the end of each month so he could be with me. My treatments were four weeks on and four weeks off. David would stay with me then go back to Connecticut and come home at the end of my four weeks off and take me back to the hospital.  He always made sure I was completely set up and comfortable before he went back to work halfway across the country.

In May 2014 they hired him permanently in Connecticut so we transferred but we waited until after I finished my treatments in July and we moved in September. Work, miles, time, effort—there was a lot to overcome for us to be together and continue on this often difficult journey. Like I said, David’s my rock. I’m so blessed to be making this Transitions journey with him by my side. Sometimes I think he’s enjoying the journey as much as I am.

 

 

People Think My Best Friend Is My Daughter.

People Think My Best Friend Is My Daughter.

People Think My Best Friend Is My Daughter. (After cancer)

Former Mayor Kirkpatrick with former Texas Governor Rick Perry and Judi’s daughter. (Before cancer)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Transitions journey is just as much about my past as it is my future, or rather, where the two intersect for  me.

Without sounding overly dramatic, It’s something I see I it daily when I look in the mirror.

My daughter, who I love more than words can say, is getting married in June and I want to look my best at her wedding. That’s my future. My past is something I wear every day and see it in my reflection.

I am so proud to be a cancer survivor but it’s painful to see every day the toll it took on my appearance. I had a strong form of chemotherapy (arsenic, actually) which doctors infused in my body for 28 days straight. It saved my life which I am so grateful for, but it also prematurely aged me.

When I see those daily reminders in the mirror, it brings thoughts and feelings about the cancer and the chemo all back. And it’s not just me who sees how chemo added years to my face.When I go out to dinner with  my best friend, Jofran, people constantly ask me if she is my daughter.

I am about  five years younger than my best friend, yet people think I am her mother.

It wasn’t like that before my battle with cancer.

It’s that before place where I’d like to be now,  partly.

And every day, with every procedure by Dr. Lori Greenwald and the team at Vanishing Veins and Vivesse Med Spa, I see a little piece of me coming back to those days **before** I had cancer.

My Transitions journey intersects both my past and my future.  My daughter, who I love more than words can say, is getting married in June and I want to look my best at her wedding. That’s my future. My past is something I wear every day and see it in my reflection. My past is fading into the past, where it belongs.

The Guys At Work Want Constant Updates

The Guys At Work Want Constant Updates

 

Here’s the thing.

I work with about 90% men and a lot of them had to come into my office after my first Pixel treatment and ask questions. Lots of questions. LOL. Like, does it hurt? Why is your face so red?

I told them, it was the price of beauty. And short answer, no, it didn’t hurt although my face was pretty leathery for a few days as the old layer of skin gave way to the new version.

It’s both funny and cute that they are so intrigued with my Transitions medical make-over by Dr. Lori Greenwald’s Vanishing Veins and Vivesse Med Spa. They want daily updates and when I was on Better Connecticut for the big announcement, they were there, cheering me on!

So, I will tell you what I told the guys at work. 🙂

I feel amazing! Just  a few days  after my first Pixel Laser Treatment, I am seeing a huge difference in my skin already!

When I look at myself in the mirror everyday, I see a little change but when I see these pictures next to each other, I see a big difference.  A lot of people here at work, including the guys, say they see a huge change too!

Judi after Her Pixel Laser Treatment.

I am getting there one day at time with Dr. Lori Greenwald’s help. I want to look in the mirror and see the woman I used to be:

Before the cancer.

Before they used arsenic as chemotherapy to kill it.

Before, the medicine that saved my life prematurely aged me.

Everyday in the mirror, I see a little part of me is coming back.

As for the Pixel treatment, my lines have already softened so much and I will get another treatment  in just a few weeks! Vivesse Med Spa nurse practitioner Amanda Scranton also told me that it would be a few months before I would see the full effects from the Pixel and that I need to give it some time to let the collagen regenerate. I can’t wait and just in time for my daughter’s wedding! Hilary is following these blogs everyday and told me not to cry so much. LOL. I will try but it ‘s all so emotional. I will try Hillary. I will. Mom loves you. xo.

 

Cancer Victim to Cancer Victor

Cancer Victim to Cancer Victor

 

In the last few years I’ve gone from being a cancer victim to becoming a cancer victor. Can you imagine being diagnosed with cancer the day after your 53rd birthday? That was my late birthday present on November 18, 2013. Cancer changed my priorities. Working became less important. I started spending more time enjoying life.

Another thing the cancer did was bring out my emotions. Oh, I’ve always been a very emotional person but even now, three and a half years after the cancer diagnosis, I can’t tell my cancer story without crying every time. But I’m grateful for so many things that helped me move from victim to victor.

Information Helps

One major help early on was learning as much as I could about my cancer. I did some Internet research and my family did a lot more. They provided me with information about my type of cancer, the treatment, and all the usual things cancer patients have questions about. The doctors gave me lots of information, too. I found that the more information I had the easier it became to live with cancer, to focus on recovery, and to appreciate life.

Focusing on Progress Helps

Another early help in my battle with cancer was understanding what my treatment plan was. I made sure I understood the plan and got comfortable with it. I was in the hospital for 28 days when I was first diagnosed. I had an EKG and blood work every morning. The doctor had to review those results before I could have my chemo treatment for that day. Sometimes my potassium would be too low so they’d have to infuse me with potassium before they could infuse the arsenic (the drug used to treat my cancer.)

Every day the nurses would put on my board in the room what the readings were on my blood work. My blood count was real low because of mutated blood cells. But every day my counts would get a little higher so I could watch my progress. Watching that improvement every day was real helpful.