Tag Archive | lumpectomy

Pink Once A Week

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Lately I’ve been just going with the flow in my life, but I’ve been dabbling in writing a book or two as well.  It seems to me when we breast cancer patients finish treatment, we are sent out into the world with less than nothing in order to rebuild our lives.  As an 11 year survivor, I’m finding that there are so many women out there who are asking as I did, “What now?” because quite frankly, it’s a bit overwhelming.

First there’s the simple grieving process of being diagnosed, with the subsequent surgeries ranging from a lumpectomy to a full double mastectomy which is enough to depress the happiest of souls followed by the reconstruction surgeries which may or may not take place at the same time.  Most times we endure chemotherapy which as the meds designed to kill cancer cells, slowly changes our body chemistry as well, we endure hair loss including baldness, depression, nausea, aches, pains, weight gain and hot flashes, none which are sexy or fun.  Afterwards, we may have radiation treatment daily which tires us out and gives us a mean sunburn among other things.

And then, we’re set free ~ off to a world filled with pink ribbons and we are handed a survivor sign to commemorate our cancer journey.

But what about the new normal that we’re trying so desperately to find?  It’s a hard road to get used to implants or being breast-less or multiple surgeries.  It’s a process to accept our new bodies with the restrictions surrounding them.  Self-esteem, self-confidence and self-acceptance need to improve so that we can feel good about ourselves and that’s simply NOT just a breast cancer thing either!

So that’s what I’m writing about ~ I want to give a class on it ~ I want to help women who are looking for a friend  to hold her hand as we travel along this road together.  It’s the beautiful thing about women who’ve endured breast cancer.  None of us have wanted to join this group, but since we are all here, we bond.

You can meet a stranger who has breast cancer and instantly, there’s a bond of knowing and understanding which forms quite literally in moments.  We’ve been there and we understand each other.  Have you found that happens to you?  I think it’s human nature to bond with others of similar circumstances.  I know I’ve bonded with others who’ve been grieving over the loss of a parent since my dad passed away last year.  It’s when we open up and connect with each other that healing can take place.

So if you’re interested, let me know because I’d like to write a bit more about it here on my blog.  But I’m testing the waters first because many of my readers aren’t breast cancer survivors ~ but since we’ve all experienced sadness in our lives (at least most of us), I thought it could help others as well since I like the glass half full approach!

What do you think?  Would you appreciate just once a week breast cancer help? 

Please let me know!  Just click on the Poll below!   Thank you!

Shine On!

xo

Miss America’s Mastectomy?

http://todayhealth.today.com/_news/2013/01/11/16463704-miss-america-contestant-gets-hate-mail-over-mastectomy-plans?lite

Dear Miss District of Columbia,

You don’t know me, but when I saw the article on you yesterday, I just knew I had to write to you.  Please accept my deepest sympathies as I am so sad that you lost your mom, your grandmother and your great-aunt to breast cancer.  My heart goes out to you for the difficult decisions you have to contemplate at the tender age of 24 in order to reduce your risk of enduring breast cancer.  As an 11 year breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed at age 34, I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult this decision is for you.  My heart goes out to you.

Although my story is different from yours, I wanted to share in hopes of letting you know that there are those of us who understand.  My journey began with a lumpectomy.  Originally I had wanted a bilateral mastectomy instead of the lumpectomy, but my surgeon denied my request, citing his philosophy to save the breasts and keep them intact.   However, when the pathology results revealed there was further breast cancer invasion to the lymph nodes and outer margins, I was scheduled for a second surgery which was to remove only the cancerous breast.  And that’s when I started listening to myself ~ just like you are doing now!

I called my surgeon back and scheduled a double mastectomy even though nobody agreed with me, least of all my surgeon.  But I know me, and as I began listening to me, I  knew in my heart that it was ME who was going to inhabit my body, day in and night out and it was my comfort level which had to have first priority.  There were shady calcifications in the other breast which to me, would eventually lead to breast cancer again, so I wanted that out of the equation in my life!

It’s been a rocky road for me with the reconstructions, but I have never once regretted my decision to take both of my breasts and I can happily tell you that I feel that I am here because I really listened to myself.  I think our bodies know what we need to do and it is just a matter of our listening to our own bodies which helps to heal and not hinder our lives.

I am very proud of you for listening to yourself and to your body and for having the courage to stand up and speak about it.  Please don’t let anyone else’s opinion sway you because it is YOU who has to live in your body everyday and it will be your healing or your fight in the end and nobody else’s.   It is not easy to live without your breasts and it is a painful decision to make ~ however, I stand firmly beside you ~ for it is YOUR rightful decision to make and no one else’s.  Surely your mom, your grandmother and your great aunt proudly applaud your courage as do the rest of us.

I love your quote, ““I’ve been thinking how powerful that might be to have a Miss America say, ‘I might be Miss America but I’m still going to have surgery. I’m going to take control of my own life, my own health care,’ ” she said. “So I guess it’s up to what happens on Saturday night.”

May you continue to be a shining example of  light, of hope  and of taking control of your own life,

your own healthcare to the millions of women and men in the world!

Shine On Miss District of Columbia!

Long May You Reign!

xo

Love You? Love Me?

“The most important thing in life is to

learn how to give out love,

and to let it come in.” Morrie Schwartz

I think that for me, giving out love is easier for me than receiving it.  Is that the same for you?   My gravatar and my chosen career is SendOut Love…I send out love through my blog, through my cards and through my connections to others.  To me, it comes easily and I love the enjoyment that comes with giving from the heart as it brings happiness to others as it in turn, brings me a wealth of happiness.

Multiple times a day I say, “I love you” to my family, friends, loved ones, 2 sweet kitties etc…and I mean it from my heart.  I am a very affectionate person by nature ~ spontaneously hugging and kissing my family daily.  I love that human connection and have more than once, reached out to a stranger that I felt needed a smile and a hello which have sparked many conversations much to the chagrin of my family who want to get going and not start talking in the grocery store to others.  But I get that ‘feeling’ and I just go with it.

Self-love on the other hand, in the scheme of things, is usually on the lower end of my ‘to do’ list.  Yes,  I love me, but somehow I feel it’s selfish and ego-istic to say that I love myself…at least that’s what I used to think.  Nowadays, I am finding that the more I love me, the more I love others.  As I’m beginning to take better care of me, I am finding that it’s changing the dynamic I have with others ~ for the better!

I’ve shared how routines can truly get us in a rut and it’s hard to break free when we’ve been so out of tune with ourselves.  I’m the first to admit I’m guilty of this, especially this year as I’ve been bombarded with crisis after crisis.  I felt like I was a chicken running around without a head, but no more.

I’ve told you about You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay.  Louise is a big believer in self-love and has many exercises in which you can bolster the love you have for yourself so that you can love others.  In fact, I highly recommend Louise’s book as it changed my life!

I remember when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago and BAngel gave me Louise’s book.  Dutifully I opened it and began to read.  Immediately I scoffed at the idea that my cancer was a dis-ease in my body and that with self-love, affirmations and a shift in thinking, I could help myself to heal.  At that time, my mind immediately turned off ~ what sort of hocus pocus was this book ~ I had CANCER!  Not a head cold or something that didn’t matter.  I was fighting for my life!  What was BAngel thinking?  And she was someone whom I’d known for years and respected…had she gone off of her rocker with this type of thinking?

So I went on with my life, lumpectomy, double mastectomy, chemo…until one day while laying in my bed after chemo, with my darling cat purring next to me on the bed, I picked up the book again…it had been a few months since I had tossed it by the wayside.  I started to read it in the quiet of the afternoon and it was as if a light began to grow inside of me.  The theories Louise explained so simply in her book grew inside of me like a small seed of hope.  Her ideas made complete sense to me and I felt like I spent the rest of the afternoon nodding my head in agreement with her.

I won’t take away the joy you will find in reading her book, but I will leave you with a link to get it!  You’ll know when the time is right to read it ~ when you’re ready, I”ll be here ~ we can have fun together knowing that YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE!

xoxo