Buna’s Top 10 Chemo Gratitude List


Such a beautiful sentiment, with just the perfect matching picture of that little sparkling flame, igniting a fire within us all to go out there and set those grateful hearts all aflame!

Am I right?

Well, Yes, and No.

This is how I feel.  This is how I carry about my life, my prayers, my hopes, my dreams, my talks with my family, and my blogs with all of you…

most of the time.

However, lately, I’ve been hit with a ton of bricks.  And although thankful and smiling (Genuinely, never put on.  I’m real, y’all) all the way through when I embark on what I call “social morphine” (I am painless, somehow, at a party or a crowd),  inside,  I’m devoid of all energy.  IV fluids regularly throughout the week are keeping me afloat and my feet drag through my house like I’m in quicksand.   Needless to say, I’m a bit more like this:


(Which is why I don’t answer my phone much.  I’m more of a “texter”.  Sorry folks, but it’s better for us all in the a.m. especially.)


Or even this…


But, if any of you know me well enough or have read this blog long enough, my “grumpy pants” don’t stay on very long.  We all have ’em, and we all gotta own ’em, I just get really bored, discouraged, and sluggish in them.  And hey, if ya didn’t gather that from me,  (if this is your first time reading, feel free to go right on back to the WELCOME PAGE and start scrolling through the many tabs to MEET BUNA, learn a lil’ about our BIG FAMILY LIFE , TOUR JOURNEY NUMERO UNO , AND PLEASE (OH PLEASE!!) don’t forget to stop by the  PRAYER WALL to drop off some intentions for me to pray for.)    This blog, your support, those comments, and all of those prayer intentions keep me moving right into what I’m about to say.


Shortly after I began chemo (again) on Thursday, I got hit pretty hard over the weekend, which we expected.   As I told a friend recently, “If there was a superhero for weird reactions to medicine, it’d be me. Call me “CAPTAIN ONE PERCENT!”  DUN  DUNN DUNNNNN!!!!!!!

Unfortunately, and fortunately, we’ve been here before, so we kinda know where to go in our play book, so to speak.  We knew how to huddle up again and make some new plays to be more on the offense than just the defense of these side effects.   I’m getting a lot more fluids, more often, and with new meds and all of my regular scribes of oils and healthy eating plans to keep me going.

This too shall pass. 

Every now and again, I have no shame in my game to admit that I am a total crank (and so are my kids, let’s face it, we’re human!)  and we just need to relieve a little steam.  And we do.  (I urge you to click on the following link including our KIDDOS’ EPIC NINJA/JEDI-STYLE  RELEASE ON CANCER : “5 little Faces Lookin Back at Me”) We’re due for another Epic “release”, I do believe.

However,  for now, after speaking with a dear friend, a fellow YouNight Class of 2015 Survivor/Role Model, David Mancuso (one of the two only men to have walked the You Night Stage as Role Models, mind you!),  I listened to my heart of hearts.


David and I, hanging out after our infusions with just a smidgen of his enormous collection of stuffed animals that surround him at chemo. We all have our “go to” happies!


David, a retired naval chaplain, reminded me, “Bees don’t flock to honey far more than vinegar.”  He also said, sometimes I’ve wondered, “Why me, God? Why, Cancer for me?” But now he asks instead, “Why NOT me?”  Why NOT bless him the many ways he’s been blessed through these struggles as being the miracle man that he is (surviving and fighting for decades).  Why not him vs. someone else.  Who else would I rather bare see this cross?  There’s suffering, but glory in the cross. David embraces both.  I just listened and nodded intently.  I understood and agreed wholeheartedly.   Bees flock to honey.  We flock to people filled with the glory of God, finding joy in struggles even when their cross is very heavy and full of splinters.  It’s a lot harder to want what someone else has when all you see and smell is vinegar.


So here’s me, hoping to be a little more like a honey bee today and remembering that

“GRATITUDE is the ATTITUDE” (as my 10 yr old Sunshine writes on a sticky note on my fridge quite regularly!


Since I’m trying my best, but can’t possibly properly thank everyone in the near future, the way I’d really like to, for ALL the outstanding generosity towards our family, and just be thankful in general for the little things, here it goes:

Buna’s Top 10 Chemo Gratitude List

  1. CANTALOUPE!  I can’t seem to get enough of it.  It’s God’s heavenly gift to nauseated chemo patients.

  2. MEAL TRAINS.  Thank all the mamas out there that know that cooking is just not an option right now!  The meals have been wonderful.  People have been careful to try and stick to our healthy eating styles, and again… I DIDN’T HAVE TO STOMACH GOING INTO THE KITCHEN!  Thank you all!!!!!  **Even those gift cards for quick and easy pick ups (subway & Smoothie King, Jimmy Johns) or dine/in take out or even grocery. ALL SOOO HELPFUL. I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO DESCRIBE HOW GRATEFUL WE ARE FOR THOSE.

  3. GINGERALE. When I’m sick to my stomach, even water is “too slushy”.  YAAYYY Canada Dry!

  4. HOUSE CLEANING. There’s no words to describe the pressure that this takes off of me & my family of seven than to not have to worry about the house. Ahhh. HUUUGE thanks to my dad and his wife, Karen, for offering this gift to me. HIP HIP HOORAY!!!!

  5. MY COZY COLLECTION of PRAYER BLANKETS and “WOOBIES”.  If you don’t know what a “Woobie” is than go watch Mr.Mom, you’ll thank me.  “I’m smothered, covered, topped, and diced!”, as my fave Waffle House waitress ROCK-SAND would tell me and my friends after a good night of “fun on the town”.  I’m smothered with snuggly blankies and so thankful to have enough to go around for the fam.  We feel the love!

  6. CANTELOUPE. Did I already mention that? I mean, really, it’s heaven in a melon.

  7. PEOPLE WHO LOVE AND CARE ABOUT MY KIDS.  We’ve heard some of the sweetest stories come out of our kids’ mouths this week.  We’ve seen some amazing pictures and tokens of affection, etc.  all from friends and family going out to our kids.  They’ve been hugged, they’ve been high fived, and cards and gift cards have come in all with them in mind! **Gift cards for us to go do stuff together when I’m feeling better or send them to do with friends or a family member when I’m down: MOVIES, ART TIME, ELEVATION STATION, CHIK-FIL-A, CHUCK E CHEESE, BOWLING….)  That’s right up our alley and so gratefully appreciated from the Mommy heart in me that wants my kids to do well and have fun!

  8. MY KICK BUTT GRASS CUTTING, SAM’S GOING NEIGHBORS!! Like a theif in the night morning, My next door neighbor cut our grass while his wife made a “HUUUUUUUUGE” (Yes, you should have read that in Trump’s voice!) paper product run at Sam’s and stocked us with paper ware for months!!! All while whipping up a lasagna to boot! Thank you, Jeff and Christine for doing that and organizing grass cutting for my hubbie. He’d never ask, but HE NEEDS it right now.

  9. PRAYERS, PRAYERS, AND MORE OF ‘EM! When people ask, “What can we do?!?”  I always say, prayers are more precious than gold to us.  PLEASE PRAY.  That’s the #1 thing that anyone can do.   It’s more powerful than anything.   In fact, a shout out to our priests! In particular, Fr.Ian Bozant, who celebrated Sunday mass for us because I was too weak to attend at the parish.  We are blessed.  (Maybe next time, we’ll let him win at the Wii.  He was considered just another play mate for the day!)

  10. The chance to LIVE RIGHT NOW! The chance to enjoy my family, loved ones,  and friends for every day that it’s worth when I merely am blessed to open my eyes to another day.  God didn’t have to do that for any of us today, but he did for some of us…. and for that we can be so very thankful.


I could go on and on about each individual person, their meals sent, and the cards that we’ve received.  We are in absolute AWE.

I’m dumbfounded by fundraising efforts. I’m utterly speechless.   

So instead, I just ask you to continue to pray and be patient with us, as it’s a process.

Much like the floods,  this is just the beginning, and our needs will probably change as weeks go by.

But for now  be grateful with me, because…


“Every little thing’s gonna be alright.” – Bob Marley

(PHIL 4:6-7)



19 thoughts on “Buna’s Top 10 Chemo Gratitude List

  1. Thank you for the lovely reminder of appreciation and gratitude. How easy it often slips away. Stay strong, our mighty Lord is standing with you always. 🙏🏻

    Sent from my iPhone

    Sent from my iPhone >


  2. Thank you for taking the time to update your blog. I’m sure its good “therapy” for you…and it’s some really great inspiration for “us”. Praying always for you, Jason,and family!


  3. Elise, your positive outlook and your appreciation for all things, large and small make me want to be a better person. The World is certainly a better place for having you been a part of it. I will continue to pray for you and your beautiful family. With utmost adoration for your Grace, Susan Akey


  4. Elise,
    You are so beautiful….and real…and filled with grace! Your words are a gift to those walking the same walk as you and to those that are not. Many, many prayers are being said for you and your family.


  5. I adore the new theme song for sooooo many of us: RISE
    by Katie Perry. When I first heard this on the radio, I actually got it on I tunes. Quite amazing for my low tech ability, but I knew this song was so powerful and we all needed to hear that reminder “Oh, ye of so little faith…” GOD is in control.
    I say to you, Amen!


  6. Elise your genuine heart and soul shines , there is no mistaking that. Your are a teacher for everyone who is near you. Your words are amazing and I have to tell , looking at David’s animals, while going through chemo my younger sister gave me a stuffed rabbit. We call him boo boo bunny, boo boo has since been through the sale of my home being returned to my sister for her bout with cancer and many other trials in our life. He is a bit worn but is a source of comfort. You know we are praying and loving you.


    • blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } Requesting prayers as I am awaiting lab results…Dermatologist removed a suspicious looking mole Like 5 years ago when it was a melanoma. yES,We pray for remission and God’s will be done.Amen, I say to you Amen julie Shreve

      Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad


  7. God bless you and your family. I will hold you and your family in my daily prayers. You asked for petitions.. Could you please keep in prayer a sweet family who just lost their 2 year old daughter Abby in a drowning accident. Thank you.


  8. Always thinking of you. I saw your precious girls cheering at the flag football game. We are praying for you and your lovely family. Stay strong because God is holding your hand.


  9. To my precious Elise and her precious family, who haven’t a clue who this nutty soul might be.
    Your courage is beyond compare.
    Y’all’s love hops right out the screen and dares anything to try to damage it.
    The compassion y’all have for everyone who needs it is overwhelming.
    Your family-ism is a beautiful treat in this day and time.
    These are all valid observations. But far and away your faith in and trust that God will see all of you through, regardless of to what end, is simply amazing. Know that you are exceptionally loved be all who may have met you during any phase of your lives, separate or as one. That kind of love leads to that kind of prayer lifted for you.
    Much love,
    Mary Pratt


  10. Hello, I’ve recently begun my search for a Chaplain Mancuso who helped me during a difficult period of my life, while stationed at Cherry Point, NC in 1994-95. Looking at this photo, this could be him…and I sure hope it is! I’d love to connect with him and share my gratitude. Thank you.


    • I will ask him. His name is David Mancuso, and has been fighting stage 4 lung cancer for quite some time. He’s a miracle man & so kind. I’ll talk to him and get back to you, Darla


    • I contacted David, and quickly wrote in return:
      “Yes I do remember her well. She can contact me at cndmancuso@msn.com. If she searches on face book let her know I live in Slidell and I use messenger. Thank you so much for forwarding this information. Things like this are very humbling in a good way. Thank you again!”

      How I love to help people make these connections!! Keep me posted as the story unfolds, please.
      God bless you, Darla


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