Monday, October 31, 2011


Greetings everyone!

Today I am typing courtesy of the Dragon software. It is pretty cool to use this. Although, it is a bit strange because I feel like I'm sitting here talking to myself. However, my fingers certainly appreciate it. I should note though that they are actually feeling better these days. Of course, had we not purchased Dragon sure they would still be hurting a lot right now.

I know I've been missing lately and I'll try to catch you up. I started radiation treatments about two weeks ago. Today I will go in for my 13th treatment (out of a total of 28 or 33 treatments). Radiation isn't too difficult – nothing close to how chemotherapy was. It does however, suck the energy out of me. I'm starting to think that I will never feel not tired again! The hardest part about radiation is that I have to go every single day. Okay, okay, I do get the weekends off and that's nice but still going to the hospital everyday? Not exactly my idea of fun. The good news his the appointments are brief – I'm there for a total of 15 min. each day. And the first appointment after lunch so I never have to wait which I also appreciate very much.

Things are so much better now than they were over the summer. And and while I'm grateful things are better, they are still not normal. I still struggle with those days where it all just feels like too much, where it's hard for me to believe this really is happening, and where I just can't wait for it to all be over. Those days come less often now, but they still come. Things are better. But they're not great.

And yet, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Soon enough, most of this will be behind me. My energy will come back, my hair will start to grow, my fingers will lose their tingle, my skin will start to heal from the damage, things will be normal. Not the normal they were before all of this, no, I know this has changed everything. We can't go back to where we were. Scars have been left, both scars you can see and ones you can't. But we will find a new normal, a place where our old normal in this new reality will meet.

For today, we will get dressed up, we will eat too much candy, we will hang out with friends, and  enjoy Halloween. I will take too many pictures and the kids will beg to go to just a few more houses. And it will be a great day!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

6 Months

It may be hard to believe, but it was 6 months ago today that I received that fateful call from the doctor. It's a bit strange in that in some ways I can't believe 6 months has flown by and in other ways I'm pretty sure it's been 6 months.

I do have more to say about this. I've had a lot to say recently, but you haven't heard much from me. That's because I'm having issues with my fingers and typing has become at best hard to do and at it's worst, it's painful.

But I'll be back again soon. Promise! =)

Monday, October 17, 2011

WIWOMH 10/17

So today I am wearing this cute hat

This hat was made for me by grannie. Grannie is LouCeeL's mom. Grannie was the first person to knit me a hat and has given my quite a few of them. And then Lou kindly delivers them to me. My 9yo also loves grannie's hats and tries to steal mine all the time! {Also, Lou has a lovely picture of me modeling another hat grannie made for me here}

Anyway, in very cool news, last week Grannie opened an etsy shop! She has a lovely purple scarf in there now and I hope she'll add more things. And that you'll go check out her shop. Because she is very nice and her knitting is wonderful! =)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness

Today is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. So over on twitter, I am sharing a tweet about MBC every 15 minutes. This was a great idea started by a friend from twitter (who also is responsible for compiling this list of information!). Over here, I'm just listing all the tweets/links I and others will be sharing over on twitter. I hope you'll take the time to learn more about MBC. Women are suffering from this, and I've learned recently that so many people are unaware!

Sink the pink, start to think! Today is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Learn
about BC METS today!

Learn more about Metastatic breast cancer from @ccchronicles. Read & RT http://

Metastasis refers to the spread of cancer to different parts of the body: bones, liver,
lungs and brain.

An estimated 155,000 Americans are currently living with metastatic breast cancer.
MBC accounts for ~40,000 deaths annually in U.S.

Public service announcement on metastatic breast cancer from the Metastatic Breast
Cancer Network Watch it and RT

Learn about Metastatic Breast Cancer today! Time to talk about
this devastating disease. #BCSM #MBC

Make a difference in the #MBC community. Donate to MBCN.ORG in honor of
Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness day:

155,000 people are living with metastatic breast cancer in the United States. Learn

Learn more about Metastatic Breast Cancer from BMJ:

Check out for more information on Metastatic Breast Cancer.
It's time to make a difference!

Put your pink $ to better use this Oct! Donate to Metavivor & make a REAL
contribution to the breast cancer cause:

Great resource from Willow breast Cancer Support in Canada on #MBC http://

Median survival after diagnosis of #MBC is 3 yrs. There has been no statistically
significant improvement in the past 20 years - ASCO

Watch the Faces of Metastatic Breast Cancer 2011 video from http:// Learn more about MBC Pass it on

Median survival after diagnosis of #MBC is 3 yrs. There has been no statistically
significant improvement in the past 20 years - ASCO

Want to make a difference in the Metastatic Breast Cancer Community? Register now
for 2011 MBCN Conference: #BCSM #MBC

Check out @facesofMBC Learn more about #MBC today: http://

Genetech will donate $1 to #MBC initiatives for every view of @facesofMBC videos
TODAY Let's get them to $20K

YSC is partnering w/ CSC for special webinar for young women diagnosed with
metastatic breast cancer. Tonight 7 pm!

What is metastatic Breast Cancer? Learn about it here: from Change the pink conversation

Amazing women in the @faceofMBC video -highlighted here: Be
inspired to do something today!

Round up of excellent Metastactic breast cancer awareness resources:
6VhZp from

Information on 2011 Clinical trials for Metastatic Breast Cancer. #MBC NEEDs
MORE TRIALS! Let's make a difference!

Excellent support community from @teaminspire for Metastatic Breast Cancer
survivors.  Pass it on!

Time to refocus the breast cancer conversations on Metastatic Breast
Cancer. Read more from our friend whymommy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WIWOMH 10/12

Today I'm wearing a new scarf I bought at Target the other day

It's kind of silly looking I know, but with a bit of fall in the air, not only is my head getting cold, but so is my neck (which is also used to having hair on it!). So I pick my bigger scarves and wrap them over my head and my neck.

Friday, October 07, 2011

More facts

About 20% of women diagnosed with Breast Cancer, regardless of initial stage of diagnosis (so whether they were stage I, II, or III from the beginning) will go on to have metastatic breast cancer (which is stage IV). About 6% present with metastatic breast cancer from the initial diagnosis.
What does this mean? That early detection is NOT the cure for breast cancer. That early detection will NOT save all lives. So what do we do with this? Well, we still advocate for early detection because it does help. But we also need to do more. Research more. Study more. We need to learn about metastatic breast cancer if we really want to eliminate breast cancer deaths.

If we only look at early stage breast cancer (stage 1) 18-20% will have a recurrence of breast cancer within 10 years. An in 70% of those, the cancer will have spread to their bones. {Of the remaining 30% I am not sure what is or isn't metastatic breast cancer. It's hard to get concrete numbers on some of this}

Edited to add this:

I found this and it does a beautiful job (I think) of explaining why early detection does not prevent spreading of all breast cancer

"For decades, women have heard that the best hope of curing breast cancer is finding it early. To that end, doctors have taught women about the importance of three breast cancer screening techniques: breast self-exam, clinical breast exam (a breast exam done by a health professional), and mammography. This emphasis on breast cancer screening has perpetuated the belief that all breast cancers can be cured if they are found early. It also leads people to believe that all women who survive breast cancer do so because their cancer was found early.

The latest research, however, indicates that neither of these beliefs appears to be true. It now looks like there are about six different types of breast cancer that vary in how aggressive they are. Some of them are so "good" that they will never metastasize (spread throughout the body). And that means it doesn't matter when you find them. They just don't have the ability to cause someone to die of breast cancer. Others are very "bad" and so aggressive that no matter when you find them—which means even if you find them when they are still very small—they have already begun to wreak havoc. These are the types of cancers that cause women to die of this disease. Still others, probably about 30 percent, have the potential to become "bad" if not stopped early. These are the cancers whose outcomes are affected by breast cancer screening programs and early detection. These are also the cancers mammography is best at finding.

So is the concept of "early detection" a total falsehood? Not really. There are some cancers that we truly can detect early. What is misleading is the idea that every cancer has the potential to be found early by our current techniques. Right now, unfortunately, we are limited by both our techniques and our understanding of breast cancer. Screening is still our best tool for changing the mortality rate of breast cancer. We need to take full advantage of it while working very hard to find something better."

From here

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Sad Truths ...

In 1991, an average of 119 women died each day of breast cancer. This year? an average of 110/111 will die each day of breast cancer. While part of this can be explained by higher numbers of women being diagnosed and we have awareness, the truth is most money raised for breast cancer goes to education and early detection (and early detection is not a guarantee that everything will turn out okay). And very little goes to research. I'll talk more about this through out the month.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Breast Cancer: My story and a giveaway

As October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month I thought I would kick it off with a summary of the last almost 5.5 months that I wrote for some friends recently.

How I'm (really) doing ....
It's up and down. One day is the good. The next day is so bad.

Surgery was hard. I didn't do well with it. I didn't do well with the pain medicine. I didn't know how often you use your chest muscles every. single. day. I didn't know how jarring and sad it would be to see my body for the first time after it. I didn't know how excited I would be the first time I could wash my hair all by myself again - learning to lift my arms again was hard work! But I also didn't realize how fast I get over it. How soon it would seem normal and how I quickly I would fall in love with my new boobs!

Chemo? The first medicine they gave me? Let me tell you - there were days I could barely get out of bed just to get to the bathroom. There were moments where I wondered if I could just quit and stop it. There were days I was pretty sure the cancer would have been better than chemo. Sometimes I just cried and cried. Other days I was so absolutely pissed off and just angry. So angry. There were moments where I just couldn't get over the unfairness of it all. There were moments where I was terrified that this might be the last summer I get with my family, where I wondered if the next Christmas would be the last.

I still have those moments. They come much less often. I'm mostly to the point where I've accepted it all. It sucks. It is unfair. It is hard. But it is what it is. And we'll get through it. I made it through the tough medicine {the medicine is so tough that even if my cancer were to ever come back, I will never get it again. It's so hard on your body it has a lifetime limit on it}. And we moved on to easier chemo (no, not easy chemo, just easier). But I am regaining normal. I am getting strong. Energy is coming back. Sickness is leaving.

I still have radiation to go. It will start at the beginning of October. 5 days a week for 7 weeks. Herceptin (a protein that is literally a life saver for women with my specific type of cancer and for which I will be forever grateful for) I will get every 3 weeks for one year, starting a few weeks from now. Final plastic surgery sometime in the new year. I will take tamoxifin for at least 5 years. My ovaries will come out before I turn 40. Sooner if they suspect even the tiniest thing going on with them. Follow-up scans and tests.

This isn't over yet. It won't be over, well, I don't know if I will ever feel it's over. But I really firmly believe the hardest part is over.

And really? All the love, and support, and kindness ... has been amazing. Even through it all, we have been so amazingly blessed. I feel like I've been just completely surrounded with love and understanding every. single. step. of the way. And that? That has trumped and been more powerful than every bad, negative, scary, side effect and treatment along the way. 

And a giveaway:
One lucky commenter on THIS post will win a gift basket from P&G for leaving a story about how breast cancer has affected you. I know we all have connections and ties to breast cancer. I also know that sometimes these stories can be hard to share, but we are all here for you. Winner will be chosen on Oct. 10! I'm extending this to Monday, October 17!

In addition during the month of October, P&G has several programs going on:
- Save while you give. On Sunday, October 2, and Sunday, October 16, a GIVE Hope brandSAVER will be distributed in newspapers across the country, with discounts for P&G products, including Olay, Pantene, Crest and many more. For each GIVE Hope brandSAVER coupon redeemed, P&G will donate two cents to the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) – allowing people to give back, while saving money.

- Share with friends. “Like” P&G Beauty on Facebook.  For every “like” at, P&G will donate 10 cents to NBCF to further support their mission of saving lives through early detection.  The P&G Beauty Facebook page will also feature stories from female employees who have been impacted by this disease.

- Buy, give and get.  During the month of October, consumers will receive a $10 rebate ( ) and will also trigger a $10 donation to NBCF with the purchase of $50 worth of P&G Beauty products, including Venus, Olay, Secret, CoverGirl, Nice ‘n Easy, Pantene, Safeguard and Ivory.

Disclosure information: I am working with The Motherhood and P&G and being compensated for my time. However, all opinions are my very own!