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How and Why I Threw A Party in 2021 and Surprised My Friends with Freestyle Love Supreme

My Cancer Journey taught me to celebrate life and there's a way to do it now!

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I had a party.  It was as if we have never had a party before! 

Before you stop reading and accuse me of being a super spreader, I held the party outside in a beautiful newly refurbished part of a NYC park.  Most of the adults are vaccinated and we all wore masks and distanced ourselves outside.  We sipped wine and I put out individually packaged snacks for the kids.  It was simple and beautiful to be in fresh air and with a group of people!

Denise, her boys and Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan, David “BS” Bradshaw and Aneesa “Young Nees” Folds

I wanted this party to be a celebration of health and life for all.  I wanted to bring wonder and joy so I surprised my friends and family with a performance from Freestyle Love Supreme.  You may know them as the other Broadway show created by Lin Manuel Miranda.  They brought a drum, a small amplifier and entertained, brought laughter and life and music and made us all feel like we were living life and supporting artists!

It wasn’t a “special” numeric birthday.  I’m proud to share that I turned 47.  Actually every birthday is special because five years ago, I didn’t know if I would be alive to celebrate more birthdays.  I was happily divorced and raising my two young boys when I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Breast Cancer that had spread to my lymph nodes by the time I luckily found my tumor myself after a clear mammography just months before.  (LINK to pieces).  I survived a very rough 2 ½ years of treatment by planning things to look forward to.  Throughout my journey I needed fun things to look forward to.  I planned celebrations for my birthdays, the end of chemo, the end of radiation, the end of immunotherapy with family and friends and it kept me feeling alive.  I planned a trip to take my kids to Europe for the first time.  I went to concerts during my treatment on nights I felt ok.  I truly believe living this way was what helped to save me. 

This year, my outdoor birthday party was special for  everyone who joined and now I hope the video performance brightens your day.  I’ve shared before how Cancer prepared me for the pandemic, but truly there was no preparation for how isolated and lonely the past year has been.  I’ve shared my journey about living with my ex-husband, his wife, her ex-husband and all four of our children for six months.  Now that we are back home, we are still a pandemic pod.  We’ve continued our almost weekly dinners together, family events and though we all get along and actually enjoy our time together, life remains lonely with that group being my main source of socialization.  

Can you imagine your main source of connection, communication and the people you hang out the most with for over a year is your ex and his wife.   I needed more.  I needed to live larger.   So this party was a good start.  It was a reminder of what life used to be like celebrating with people.  It was a glimpse of what is to come.  It was an afternoon filled with hope and possibilities.  I hope you all have or are invited to a party soon!!!

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