Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I have fat arms!

It’s true.  They are totally fat.  I just came to that realization.  I know it sounds ridiculous and vain, but the significance of my fat arms, what it all represents, is what brings me to talk about it here. 

I was feeling warm in my sweater today, and when I took it off to cool down in my tee shirt, I noticed how incredibly soft and chubby my arms have gotten.  I can’t even explain how sad that makes me on so many levels.  It’s natural for most people to feel disappointed when their pants feel too tight, or when they’ve gained weight, but for me it is more than that.  It makes me sad because I haven’t taken care of myself by eating well or exercising in months on top of months.  Yesterday I worked so late at the foundation, dinner was from Ty’s candy cart!  But the much more significant reason why my fat arms are beyond depressing is because they were never this fat in the five years that I was lucky enough to carry Ty on my hip.  Not that I was eating healthier when Ty was sick – I fed my cancer mom nerves on coffee, chocolate and wine for more than two years – but because my arms were never empty.  I carried my precious boy with me everywhere I went.  We were never, ever apart and I am not exaggerating.  I didn’t go to the gym.  I didn’t get my nails done.  I didn’t even go to the supermarket alone no matter how disabled he was.  If I was going somewhere, he was coming with me.  I carried him with me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  We were inseparable. 

Right where he belongs <3

As he grew heavier, I became so strong and I truly had the muscles to prove it.  I was always shocked at how strong I was when I caught a glimpse in the mirror – I practically had Madonna arms!  All that my soft chubby arms tell me now is that it has been waaaaay too long that these arms of mine have been empty.  Long enough for my muscles to dissipate and my skin to sag.  Is this for real?  As funny as it sounds, I feel betrayed by my own body.  In only five months, my arms already look like this?  How quickly they’ve forgotten about Ty. 

Old-looking fat arms are generally a depressing realization for any woman, am I right?  But for me, noticing the reality of my new, fat arms is even worse because of what they signify.  If Ty were still here, like he’s supposed to be, my arms would still be rock solid and my heart would be overflowing.  I would be way too busy carrying Ty around to sit at the table with Gavin and eat Oreos with milk like we do now.  I never had time for such a luxury when Ty was around!  No way!   I catered to him, didn’t worry about myself, and I was happy to do it.  I swear. 

They say that when a person loses a limb, like an arm or a leg, they experience something called “phantom pain” where they believe they are still feeling physical pain in the arm or leg that is no longer there.   Well, I can honestly say that my shoulders are killing me and I’m dragging my feet, too.  My pain is not just emotional, it is physical, too.  I feel like I’m falling apart.  I have no energy to do the things I want to do.  I believe it is phantom pain.  I am feeling the physical pain that I would and should be feeling if I was carrying Ty around all day. 

Reminders of Ty find us everywhere.  My mom says that she has a backyard filled with blue jays and cardinals this year – she never had that before.  We have heard and spotted a woodpecker at our house 3 out of the past 4 days, always in the morning.  I love that because our last couple of weeks in the oxygen chamber, just weeks before we ended up on hospice care, our wonderful and loving nurse would tell Ty stories about her woodpecker that keeps waking her up in the morning.  He always smiled, but he never had the chance to see a woodpecker in his life.  I’m glad we have one in our tree now and I like to think Ty is right next to me and Gavin, watching it and giggling with us as I know he would have. 

My mom and I took a walk tonight and she asked me how I’m doing.  I held back the tears pretty well, but I can’t lie to my mom.  I’m not great, but I am okay I guess.  I can’t change things so I’m doing my best with what I have, but it’s still hard to live knowing that we couldn’t save him.  We all worked so hard and tried with every ounce of our beings, and he’s still gone.  It has left me changed forever in so many ways.  I’ve lost my innocence about life in general.  I used to believe you can have anything you dream of if you just try hard enough.  I used to believe life was so beautiful and FUN!  I was passionate about life in general.  Now I think everything is bittersweet.  The world around me is still so very beautiful, but Ty will never enjoy these things again.  And I am not alone in thinking this way.  Life is so hard and as we get older I know more and more good and kind people who have tragic, unfair stories about loss, heartache and struggles.

I have received so many wonderful letters and comments from people who were moved by a recent post; where I talked about how people choose to live with blinders on rather than fall in love with these kids and support the cause.  It’s too painful of a reality to face for so many people, and they don’t want to share in my pain (or that of others).  I do believe that such avoidance also keeps them from experiencing a greater appreciation of love and beauty and all things happy.  When you open yourself up to sadness, you also allow yourself a greater understanding of happiness. Thank you to all of those that reached out to share stories of how they are changed by Ty and will never turn away. 

If you are wondering where I’ve been for a week, I’ve been sooo busy!  I’ve been happily distracted by some very exciting things at the foundation.  First off, we have so many exciting fundraisers planned for the foundation, including a Horse Ride in Carmel for Ty on May 5, a Bouncy House Star Wars party (also in May), a fundraiser/auction in Dallas on May 17, a Motorcycle Ride for Ty in Brewster/Patterson/Pawling on June 1 with a huge auction, and we have received approval to host our first “Ty-Athlon” tri around Lake Mahopac this fall.  We have had some incredible individuals who are raising money for their athletic achievements AND we have an exciting line of children’s apparel aligned with Nickelodeon star Cymphonique that we will be launching very soon!!  Finally, on top of all that, we are counting down the days to launch the Muddy Puddles Project (we are aiming for MONDAY, APRIL 1!!).  Fingers crossed that we can get some media attention around the launch :)  All of this hard work is truly paying off.  I have an incredible team of volunteers and interns, near and far, who are making magic at the TLC Foundation.  I truly feel blessed and lucky despite the pain in my heart.  

CLICK HERE for a quick video of Ty shooting silly string.  In my arms, of course.  His giggle at the end makes my heart hurt. 


  1. It's so good to hear from you Cindy and I am glad your prolonged absence was beacuse you were soooo busy:) It is going to be one busy summer with all the upcoming events - how exciting! Love the name Ty-athlon!!!!
    The video - awww... What a precious little boy he is - we love him with all of our hearts and always will.....
    Sending hugs((())))
    Hanna NY

  2. My little boy, (Hayes, age 3) has recently started talking about mud puddles. I assume he has learned of them off of some cartoon, as we have never spoken of mud puddles before that I can recall. Even this a.m., when walking in to his sitter's house, he exclaimed "look at ALL the mud puddles!" My mind immediately reflects on Ty.

    There are multiple things you mention in your blog postings that when I see or hear I think of Ty. Lady bugs, super heroes, candy, the list goes on and on. Ty is always in my thoughts.

    Missed your posts the last few days...glad to see you posted this a.m.

    Love from GA,

  3. I cannot begin to imagine your pain. I have never met Ty yet I am so very in love with the sweet little baby boy in that video. Ty is my hero. Your love is as deep as the oceans. God bless you Cindy.

  4. I cannot begin to imagine your pain. I have never met Ty yet I am so very in love with the sweet little baby boy in that video. Ty is my hero. Your love is as deep as the oceans. God bless you Cindy.

  5. Dear Cindy,

    I have been reading your blog since October, when Ty passed away, and it was published in the Hufft (I didn´t know about it before)

    Thanks to God my kid is not sick...why i read your blog..or other mom´s blog (Caring bridge..the cure starts now...) I don´t know..It just touches me. I don´t think it makes my life sad, or darker .. though it does make me cry when i see the video above.
    Nobody talks about death. Is tabu. everyone tries to live like If they didn´t know it exists and happen to everyone, like If we were not going to die, ever.If you don´t do it this way...maybe people would think there is something wrong with you.
    Maybe i´m insane, ..or too sensible, or enjoy reading about diseases? I don´t know..it´s kind of weird, but for sure what it makes me is a better person (or that is what I think)..not for the only fact of reading, but because not knowing about other people suffering just makes you ignorant about life. 1. Cancer, disease, can happen to everyone..and every children..how would you think ever it would happen to Ty?? You said that once you watched an Anatomy grey episode in which a kid died, and you didn´t want to watch it again...you never thought it would happen to you. 2. Not knowing about suffering doesn´t make it desappear..

    It does make me give more value to normal things..as routine. Normal life is a privilege. You never know for how long you will be holding it..
    I try to imagine how I would be doing If I were you... and I think much much much worse for sure.

    We write comments here, but I don´t have the hope they make you feel better even for more than a sec, really..because they don´t change your reality and your lost. We cannot give you your baby back.
    I would like to know what we could do to make a mom of a death child feel better.Í hope Id knew.

    I really think Ty will find the way to you somehow again, though you can´t feel his weight in your arms. Soul is heavier.


    1. Loved the video. He is too flippin cute. The giggle at the end was adorable I struggled with whether to type is or was. I am a stranger to you abd your family but it makes me so sad to see him and hear him abd know he is gone. God bless you mommie and daddy and Gavin. I can only try to imagine the weight in your heart that has replaced the weight you carried so long on your hip. Keep fighting. Keep working. For all the children.

  6. I must admit I was getting worried having not heard from you in a week :) I'm happy to hear of all the great things that the foundation has coming up. My family is running in the color run in Baltimore in honor of Ty. We've made shirts with his picture and Superty.org printed on them (I hope this is ok). We will continue to spread awareness and share Ty's story. With love~Monica

    1. Thank you, Monica. Of course, we are thrilled that you would run the Color Run in honor of Ty. I can't wait to do one with Gavin some day! They look like such fun. Something Ty would have truly loved :)

  7. Your smile in that video is so amazing. You are such a great mom!

  8. thinking of you guys always - standing beside you in solidarity to keep Ty's memory alive always, to make a difference in this fight always - saying prayers to God every night to keep Ty safe, sending love to you, Gavin and Lou always.

  9. CIndy, your family has touched so many hearts, thank you for sharing Ty's story. Not a day goes by where I don't think of this amazing little boy that I have never even met. I still remember the day I found out Ty had passed away, tears streamed down my face like a waterfall. No matter how many tears I cry, I will never stop following, cancer sucks, but you are making so many people AWARE. Thank you for that. Sending your family lots of love.

  10. Love that Happy Laughter at the end.. Cindy, you're doing Enormous work for Pediatric Cancer, you are So Strong !! Not a day goes by that I don't think of you & that Beautiful Baby Boy Ty !!! Your words & stories have changed my whole outlook on life, You have made me Cherish my Little ones.. What A True Gift, thank You !! We all Love Ty so much, even our 2 year old says God Bless Baby Ty in his bedtime prayers.. Please keep up the Good Fight !! Always in my Prayers !!!

  11. Love love love and more love. That's all I feel when I think about Ty. Sadness set in and it hurts by oh my G-D how much love I have for this incredible boy of your. Ty with you gone it feels like the world needs to wake up hard, and to trully understand what real problems are. Ty for me represent everything that is beautiful pure innocent and at the same time everything that is so messed up SI the world. We have no cure for cancer. No matter what we think and achieve we achieve nothing if kids can just go on hospice and die form cancer. With so many doctors and so many medical miracle we still let Ty die. We robbed his beautiful mom of what feels so natural to her caring and making sure her babies are okay. I am so profoundly sorry for everything that you lost Cindy and also for the horrific pain Ty went thru. It makes me hurt so much more just knowing what level of pain he felt. I am sorry that Gavin doesn't get a chance to grow up with Ty. I don't know the pain you are feeling but I'm in terrible physical pain over Ty leaving you and I never met him so I can't ever comprehend the amount of pain you have being his mom. I am sad. I'm sorry. I miss you so much baby boy.

  12. May you always be able to hear that laughter in your heart.
    Jennifer, Illinois

  13. Love the video...such sweet innocence! Have you contacted WHUD about the Muddy Puddles launch? They are very active in the community and promote many events. Maybe they can get your words out. It is worth a shot. Good luck.

  14. People like you make this world a better place. Thank you , Cindy.

  15. My son was sick over the weekend. We knew it was just a bug and that he'd get better, but it was still hard to see him sick and my mind kept wandering to you and Ty. I can't imagine the emotions you were feeling during the time Ty was sick, all the progress, all the setbacks. Thinking about Ty made me dote on my sick little bug even more. It also reminded me to be patient with my two other kids who were not sick. I got them on board, even my 18 month old, and we worked together to care for my son. Today he's back to his old vibrant self. I wish Ty was too. I wish it with all of my being that he could have gotten better, that you could hold him again, that Gavin could laugh with his brother. Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts and working so hard to make the world a better place. Hugs and tears from NC.

  16. Hello,

    Thank you for continuing to share " SuperTy's " and his family's courageous and heartbreaking journey.

    I am thrilled that the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation is up and running - with many wonderful activities being planned and held.

    " SuperTy " will always be my hero.

    All the best.

    - Rob Swan

  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  18. Everything about you Cindy is beautiful.

  19. My heart hurts for you, so much. I wish so often that I could come up with words to soothe you, but instead, all I can offer is that I'm thinking of you, and thinking of Ty every single day. Seriously, every day. Ty is in my thoughts.

  20. Hi Cindy,

    I have been following Ty's story since early September, and not a day goes by that I don't think about him and your family. I wanted to share an experience I had last week with you. I was having a stressful day, and the weather was cold an cloudy which didn't help much. I was driving in my car when suddenly the sun peeked through the clouds in front of me, almost like it was playing peek a boo. Immediately I thought to myself "Ty" and felt this sense of calm come over me. It was so strange but amazing at the same time. He is everywhere Cindy, and touching lives everyday! Thank you so much for continuing to share your life with us and inspiring so many!

  21. Cindy:
    Like you, my car seems to be the place where I can process things - good, bad or simply ponder life. I had a 5 hour drive and could not stop thinking of you, your family and Ty. Perhaps it’s hormonal or perhaps it’s due to my own internal struggle with the loss of babies and the never ceasing desire to have another. But I was sad and incredibly angry with God. I had a pretty intense discussion with Him in my car. Did not really give a hoot what cars thought buzzing by with this crazy lady yelling and crying. I suspect there were a few fist ponds on the steering wheel. Guess I needed to tell you that because my heart wraps around your pain wanting to take it away so darn bad. When I lost my babies I was sad and angry and I wanted others to be angry too. So, I felt the need to tell you I was angry for your loss, angry that our babies left our lives before we were ready. I am certain it will not help you but more importantly I was thinking of you. I too will never be the same person after following you on your journey - but I assure you, I am better. I am still a crazy person, but, the moon is fuller, the flowers smell better, the breezes savor my skin more, the sunshine is more glorious, the air is sweeter, I hug more, kiss more and the I love yous are deep down heart felt not just words. God Bless.

  22. Hey Cindy. I just wanted to say I've been reading this blog for awhile now and you and Ty's love for each other has inspired me so so so much. It's painful and beautiful and real and never-ending. I was so moved by everything I read here that I wrote a little song/poem. I thought I might share it with you, not to try to ease your pain or pretend that I understand even a little bit of how you must have felt through everything, but just as a gesture of gratitude for everything you do related to Ty and Childhood Cancer awareness. You are truly a beautiful soul and ray of light in this world.

    The weight of a feather
    Between my fingers
    So soft like heather
    A sweet smell lingers

    Sometimes I wish
    I could kiss away the pain
    Or tear out the tubes
    That pump life to your veins

    Your broken body
    Hangs in my arms
    Limp and swollen
    With all of your scars

    Like a war veteran
    You fought it hard
    But my baby boy
    We were dealt a rough card

    How am I supposed to live
    If I’m not keeping you from harm?
    How am I supposed to breathe
    Without you wrapped in my arms?
    Life was supposed to be
    A two-way street
    But they’ve put up a barricade
    Between me and my sweet

    And I think it’s safe to say
    I loved you

    In the middle of the night
    I heard a knock on my door
    Whispers through the dark
    And a creak in the floor

    In through the silence
    Walked a large shape
    Picked you up in its arms
    And carried you away

    I begged and prayed
    For you to stay
    Or bring me with you
    To that far away place

    But the figure just bowed
    And shook its head
    “Where he’s going you may not
    Reach until you’re dead”

    I don’t know how I’m supposed to live
    If I’m not keeping you from harm
    How I’m supposed to breathe
    Without you wrapped in my arms
    Life was supposed to be
    A two-way street
    But they’ve put up a barricade
    Between me and my sweet

    And I think it’s safe to say
    I loved you

    Then I saw a golden haired boy
    Whose face I had memorized
    Was it my brother who had left us
    When he was just a young child?

    He grinned and suddenly
    I realized
    It was you my little one
    Grown and alive
    I looked straight into your eyes
    And you told me not to cry

    That you’d always be with me
    That you’d never really died
    To smile, now you were truly free!
    From all the chains and hospital sheets

    I drank in your features
    I will never quench my thirst
    And when you disappeared again
    I felt my aching heart burst

    But I know now
    Somehow I will live
    And I’ll be keeping you from harm
    Somehow I will breathe
    Without you wrapped in my arms
    Life will always be
    A two-way street
    You took down the barricade
    Between our sweet, sweet

    I know it’s safe to say
    I love you

    I’ll always miss your little feet
    Hands that were so small and smooth
    But I know you’re watching over me
    And I’ll always be watching over you

    (c) Janaki

    1. Oh so beautiful. I am so incredibly touched and honored. Thank you for sharing. You are very talented.