Making Strides of San Diego presented by WAXIE

Liza's Rack Pack

There are more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors who celebrated another birthday last year because people like you made a donation to the American Cancer Society in support of people fighting cancer. I am one of those millions of women. I am a number. You may know others besides me. They are a number. You may know of others who, tragically, didn’t get to blow out birthday candles. They are a number, too. Every year, I tell my story so that I can become more than just a number. Why then, would I choose to use numbers to tell you my story this year? It may seem a bit contradictory, but the thing is, these are MY numbers. I want you to know, despite and because of all of these numbers, I made it through what has come my way so far. Through it all, I have been able to love and cherish what I count to be the most important blessings in my life: my family and my friends. I thank God every day for the gift of ALL OF YOU.


My Story in Numbers


41 – age of my first (and last) mammogram*

13 – days between discovery of lump and diagnosis

6 – number of samples taken by core needle during biopsy

1 – number of those samples that were indescribably painful **

3 – life changing words: “Invasive Ductal Carcinoma”

2 – along with the letter A, the Stage of my tumor (due to the size and involvement of lymph nodes)

1.3 – measurement, in centimeters, of my tumor

3 – words that knocked the wind out of me: "I have cancer."

1 – lymph node, out of 2 removed, found to have cancer cells***

2 – mastectomies****

20 – longest amount of time, in days, I went without a shower 

6 – chemo treatments endured

7 – average number of hours I sat in the chair for each infusion*****

42 - total hours in the chemo chair

3 – popsicles eaten, each session in the chemo chair, to prevent mouth sores

2 – boxes of Valerio’s City Bakery treats we brought for the Chemo Suite nurses every infusion day******

7 – the chair number of my very first chemo

1 – Smashburger eaten that first day

0 – Smashburgers eaten since then******

3 – number of medicines given to me intravenously at each infusion*******

1 - ambulance ride to the ER when I had a dystonic reaction to one of my anti-nausea meds

2 – paramedics who to took pictures with me during that ambulance ride********

21 – frequency, in days, of each chemo

7 – number, in worrisome days, after each chemo that I was most vulnerable to infection

42 - Neupogen shots given, in my stomach, to keep my white blood cell counts up after each infusion

3 - times I needed an IV in the days following an infusion due to severe dehydration

PRETTY MUCH ALWAYS – how often Jenny or Olga allowed me to check in late to my Neupogen shot appointments because I felt so crappy I couldn’t move fast enough (or at all) to get there in time

0 – times I threw up, over the course of all my chemotherapy treatments

2 – types of ginger candy delivered to me (one all the way from Sacramento) to help settle my stomach

2 – lemony-lemon cakes baked for me, also for my stomach

0 - number of times I needed to get my lip and brows done during chemo

1 – middle school promotion (Jordan's) attended, wearing a cute dress and a wig 

1 – total shampoo bottles I used in 2011 and 2012

1 – home we completed a short sale for, thankfully after chemo treatments were over

33 – radiation treatments, given over 6 weeks

25 – commute time, in minutes, to get to my radiation appointments in Downtown

3 – duration, in minutes, of each radiation session

2 – days of radiation we had to skip, to give my severely burned skin a break

I DON’T REMEMBER – how many times I quick-napped at stoplights on the way home from radiation*********

3 – tattoos I got since diagnosis**********

1 – number of infections that resulted in an implant being removed***********

2 – reconstructive surgeries completed

2 – gap between first and second (and hopefully last), in years, reconstructive surgeries

50 – cost, in dollars, of each reconstructive surgery************

TOO MANY TO COUNT – number of times my drains had to be emptied during all hours of the the day and night 

5 – length, in inches, of the scar on my back*************

4 – liposuction scars**************

300 – ccs in each "girl"

1 – elementary school promotion (Andrew's) attended, wearing a cute dress and sporting my own hair

1 – teenager who became licensed and wished the timing was right so she could have driven me around when I couldn’t

158 – number of doctor appointments, to date 

1,510 – Tamoxifen pills taken

61 - Arimidex taken

1,072 – Arimidex left to take (if for 5 years)

2,830 – Arimidex left to take (if for 10 years)

68 – medicines prescribed to me since diagnosis

57 - meals delivered to me and my kids from my AWESOME friends during my treatments and surgeries

3 - birthdays I have had since my diagnosis

4 – 5K races I have done***************

382 - miles I have run since my diagnosis

57 – percent reached so far of my goal to run 365 miles in 2013

1 – marriage proposal that I tearfully, joyfully responded to with a YES!

0 - half marathons I have run****************

57 - Rack Pack team members in 2011

62 - Rack Pack team members in 2012

0 - Rack Pack team members, so far, in 2013*****************

UNQUANTIFIABLE – the love of and for everyone who supported (and continue to support) me and my family through this journey.


Those are the numbers of my life since this journey began. Please help less women become another number and click on this link to donate to and/or join my team:


Thank you for continuing to be part of my story.


Much love,





*Don’t let life distract you from getting a mammogram like I did. Go get checked.


**Sadly, the local had not taken effect right away. This was the one and only unbearably painful procedure of all my procedures done since 2010.


***This was a very misleading 50%.


****Although the tumor was only on the left side, I opted for a double mastectomy, even though a lumpectomy was, at the time, an equally viable option. At each successive treatment option fork in the road, I went for the most aggressive each time. It turns out that I would have needed a mastectomy anyway because the margins of my tumor after removal were not clear enough.


*****Time doesn’t fly during chemo.


******This earned me the nickname “Empanada Girl” among the nurses.


*******I couldn’t eat burgers for months after that, and have never had a Smashburger since.


********I don’t remember the names of the medicine except for the nickname of one of them: the Red Devil.


*********Jesse says he will never forget watching the ambulance doors open up at Kaiser and seeing me with my camera in my hand,“Take a picture! Take a picture!” (Don’t judge. I was loopy from the drugs.)


**********Cumulative side effects of painless radiation (until you receive enough treatments to get burned) includes severe fatigue.The kids would wake me up when the light turned green.


**********Don’t get too excited; they were just markers for the radiation. I asked for, and was refused, something cute. All I have are three little dots that look like moles.


***********The severely burned radiated skin I mentioned above? It was too compromised to handle healing well on its own. The infection came on full force during my and Jesse’s first and long-awaited Vegas getaway weekend after the business of chemo and radiation and reconstructive surgery was “over.” It was a memorable weekend, for sure.


************I am very thankful to be blessed to have my medical coverage. Kaiser took and continues to this day, to take good care of me. I remember being so grateful and touched by the kind gentleness of all my caregivers.


*************The one Jordan says I could brag was from a shark bite. But really, the one from cutting the latissimus dorsi flap muscle from my back to provide more tissue to support my implant.


**************Yes, liposuction! My dear, dear Dr. Scott took some fat from my stomach and thighs to sculpt a bit of cleavage. Yeah!


***************One, the Hot Chocolate 5K, was 10 days after my latissimus dorsi flap surgery. I walked it.


****************Soon to be 1. Stay tuned!


*****************Please join my team and walk with us to help find a cure. We are Liza’s Rack Pack! 

- - - - - - - - - - -

From 2012:

So here we are again. It’s October and everyone is going to be inundated with pink this, pink that. Everyone is going to be asked to be "aware." I have never, ever been one to push fundraising onto anybody. For my kids’ fundraisers, I usually put it out there once, and I figure if anyone is really interested, they will let me know. With that said, you now know this fundraising business is not my nature. But—there’s a big BUT—for this, I make an exception. Even though I know you can imagine why this is personal for me, I just wanted to talk about exactly how the money we have raised (and will raise) gives tangible help to women like me, one of the 1 in 8 who are told they have breast cancer.


*$100 will pay for one wig. The American Cancer Society provides one free wig to every woman who loses her hair due to chemotherapy. I got a wig through them, but now I wish I didn’t take it because I didn’t end up using it. (It wasn’t cute on me. I’ll have to find that picture and show you guys.) I felt bad because someone else could have used it. I should fundraise an extra $100 to make up for that!!


*The American Cancer Society Road to Recovery program provides transportation to and from treatment for people who have cancer who do not have a ride or are unable to drive themselves. I was lucky not ever to have to worry about how I was going to get to my appointments, but it breaks my heart to think that there are others who have to add that to their list of worries. I really like that I can contribute to help make this happen.


*$300 will pay for one prosthetic breast. I am currently using one until my reconstructive surgery is completed in November.


*I get three free bras from Nordstroms every year. That might sound like a frou-frou deal, but once you have had lymph nodes removed, or lymph nodes compromised during breast cancer or reconstructive surgery, you are at a greater risk for lymphedema, which causes severe fluid retention. I have to wear certain bras (no underwire, for example) to keep that from happening. They also have seamstresses who sew on special pockets to hold my prosthetic in my bra (because let me tell you, your boob falling out of your bra is not very cute). I have gone to see my professional bra fitter Jesse (cool name, right?) for two years now, and she has been so kind and helpful and patient and gentle in helping me find the most comfortable bras.


*The American Cancer Society hosts a free program called Look Good, Feel Better. Every participant comes away with a goodie bag full of high end cosmetics. The ladies there taught me how to draw my eyebrows in when I lost all my hair.


*Funds raised in past walks made possible the research for anti-nausea drugs. I took Emend and Zofran. Women who walked their journey before me had unrelenting nausea during the course of their treatments. I did not once throw up during my chemo.


*Past funds raised also allowed researchers to create Tamoxifen as a weapon against breast cancer recurrence. I will take Tamoxifen for 5 years. So far, I have taken 910 pills. I have 2,740 more to take!


I am sure there are many other ways the money is used, but now you know how I personally got to benefit from the donations. Now you can tell people how some of their money might be spent!


The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer team slogan is “Less Breast Cancer, More Birthdays.” When I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2010, the odds were 1 in 8 women would get breast cancer. I heard that it may now be 1 in 7, or at least moving that way. I have had 2 birthdays since then. I hope to have many, many more. I also hope that what we do today will make it so that our moms, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, wives, daughters, and friends will have a much, much slimmer chance of becoming one of the statistics tomorrow.


So what would I like to ask you to do?


First, if you plan to walk, please join the team. There is no registration fee, and you can donate to yourself now or later, or not. Actually, even if you are not walking, join the team anyway! I am assuming if you can’t make it, you will be there in spirit, right?


Second, make a donation, however small. Every little bit counts.


Third, find out if your employer matches your donation. This is a super easy way to get more funds.


Fourth, please post the link to the team page on your wall throughout the days leading up to the walk. But make sure you add a little blurb letting your friends know what it’s about, why you are walking. Remember, this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so everyone will be seeing a lot of this kind of stuff. You don't want them to overlook your post. Talk about how it’s personal for you. Or if you’re not sure what to say, feel free to share this note. If everyone on your list donated $5, how much money would you be able to generate? Wow, from my friends list, that would be over $2,000! Oh, and you might want to tell your friends to find out if their employer matches donations too.


Here's the link to our team page:  


Thanks for being willing to listen and be a part of my continuing story.


Much love always,


Liza's Rack Pack - Join Team Raised
Champion of Hope Liza Tuscano $2,158.12
Herminia Catacutan $0.00
Vanessa Cruz $0.00
Rising Star I made a personal gift Russell Manaois $50.00
Jordan Miles $0.00
Rising Star I made a personal gift Olga Ramirez $25.00
Theresa Stevens $0.00
Jesse Tuscano $0.00
Team Gifts $0.00
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Liza's Rack Pack

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We’ve raised $2,233.12
Our Goal $2,500.00
Me Quedan 4Days Left
#33 out of 446 teams

Our Event

San Diego presented by WAXIE
Sunday, October 21, 2018

Why We Support
American Cancer Society by Making Strides

Team Members

Thank You Donors

  1. From Amount
Top Donors
  1. Allison Smith$36.93
  2. Anonymous 
  3. Benjamin Challenge Bonus$100
  4. Diana Carson$35
  5. Evi Felarca$105.50
  6. Herminia B Catacutan$100
  7. Jazmin Jimenez$21.10
  8. Jody Bregg$50
  9. Jordan Miles$100
  10. Joseph Abaya$52.75
  11. Julie Russell$25
  12. Liza Tuscano$775
  13. M Lourdes Rodriguez 
  14. Merlinda D. Ecdao$42.20
  15. Mia Reed$26.38
  16. Monica& Lorenzo Ruano$100
  17. Mr. Jorge M Mora$20
  18. Mrs. Cynthia Orr$100
  19. Mrs. Kathie Jo Sharp$35
  20. Mrs. Kristin Ann Sullens$20
  21. Ms. Debbi K Pacecca$20
  22. Olga Ramirez$25
  23. Russell L Manaois$50
  24. The Gilfillen Family$52.75
  25. Tina AdamsCarter$26.38
  26. Ty Sharif$200
  27. Vanessa Cruz$52.75
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How You're Helping
Save Lives From Breast Cancer

Thanks to the support of so many, the American Cancer Society is there for everyone in every community touched by breast cancer. Including those who are currently dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis, those who may face diagnosis in the future, and those who may avoid a diagnosis altogether thanks to education and risk reduction.

invested in breast
cancer grants

$ 74 million

patient service
requests fulfilled

75 thousand

one-to-one support
services provided to
breast cancer patients

11 thousand
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Purchase your outfit for your walk day and help raise money for Making Strides events around the country. Pink Shop proceeds are donated to the American Cancer Society.

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Any donation amount helps save lives from breast cancer.

Welcome to our Team Page. We've formed a team because this cause is important to us. We want to help. And walking and raising money in our local American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event is the best way we can do that. We all have different reasons for participating but we share a determination to help save lives from breast cancer.

There are so many ways that the money our team raises helps. It’s helping fund innovative research. It's providing free information for people dealing with the disease. It’s providing rides to treatment and places to stay for people who have to seek treatment far from home. In short, our money is helping save lives. Consider donating to our team and helping advance the cause.

How We Support the American Cancer Society

Of course we walk in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event. And we solicit donations from family, friends, and other supporters. But we also schedule fundraisers in lead-up to the big event. Bake-sales, car washes, and countless other types of events. And we promote those on social media, through Facebook and Twitter, by word of mouth, and through flyers at work and around the neighborhood. The success of fundraising events depends on two things - hard work and getting the word out. And we're out to do both. Keep an eye out for our fundraising events.

Join us. Donate today. Or walk with us.

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