Wednesday, October 10, 2012


There is so much happening and going on.  I need to start making a list of everything I want to write about.  I mainly need a list to help my chemo-brain recall all of the things I think about.  Why create another list, when I can make it here?

1. New York City!
2. Denver - Hello, Alison!
3. Mommy Guilt :(
4. I Wish I Were a Teacher

Those are all of the things I need to share but there is one thing that is most important to me right now.  It's October.  It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

This is quickly replacing my birthday month (June) as my favorite month of the year!  Everywhere I turn, there is pink!  There are ribbons!  There are flowers and Zumba classes and special e-mails! And October marks one year since my double mastectomy and get-those-lymph-nodes-the-heck-out-of-me day.

The most important part of breast cancer awareness is feeling comfortable enough to talk about the topic and making sure women know how to take care of themselves.  Do you know what a "lump" feels like?  Does your wife or sister or daughter examine their breast tissue monthly?  Did you know you are looking for something, roughly the size of a pea?  Did you know that if breast cancer is in your family, regardless of the BRCA gene, females should start self-exams ten years before their relatives' age of diagnosis?

That means my family - my beautiful Sissy and my lovely young cousins, need to start their exams at age 19!  19 is so young!!  (I was diagnosed at 29). Did you know that I never had a lump in my breast tissue?  By the time I went to the doctor, my tumor had spread over two quadrants of my left breast.  Not only could I NOT have identified my cancer using a self-breast exam, but I didn't know what I was looking for anyway (not good).  But what I did right was bring my symptoms to my doctor's attention right away.  Did you know that your nipples  can BLEED?  I've been embarrassed to talk about this for the past year and a half, but what if my prevention of discussion doesn't help someone else?  That is how my cancer started yelling for my attention.  Did you know that breast cancer can invade your lymph nodes and then you automatically need chemotherapy and then your hair falls out....and we all know how I feel about that issue.

So, please, have the discussion.  And if you don't have insurance, KNOW YOUR RESOURCES.  There are amazing programs out there that ensure women over 40 can get mammograms, no matter what.  And my amazing friend, Rita Rivard, knows these amazing programs and will help ANYONE.  

And that's the second most amazing thing about Breast Cancer Awareness month - is that SURVIVORS rally around you all day long.  My friend, Rita, is a true blessing in my life.  Not only is she an amazing survivor, but she is a RN!  She knows STUFF!  And I can talk to her about my crazy surgery recovery and being a mom with cancer and having mastectomies and she GETS ALL OF IT.
Amazing Rita and her I-Can't-Wait-To-Meet-Her-Husband-Ross!

And then, there is my gorgeous friend, Bren Flowers.  Many of you know that Brian and I met Bren during the New Years Eve contest last year.  And Bren is so inspiring.  And Bren's husband Ron, is so fabulous.  And it's not fair that Bren is fighting her second battle of breast cancer in five years.  But the point is, she is fighting.  And she is going to win.  And we are sending her our love and support and prayers during every minute of every day.
Gorgeous Bren and Fabulous Ron

I have another courageous friend, Nicole.  Nicole and I met at CHEMOTHERAPY - who knew you could make such wonderful friends there?  And Nicole is YOUNG.  And a mom to two beautiful young children.  And she is fighting.  And thriving.  And it sucks but Nicole and I have lunch and get to spend time just venting about cancer sucking.  (I don't have a picture of Nicole, but you can imagine how beautiful she is).

There is one more amazing thing about Breast Cancer Awareness month.  It's the SWAG!  I feel obligated to purchase anything where funds are going to Breast Cancer Research.  This is an expensive habit, but one I feel very strongly about!  And look at all of the great things!!

This amazing necklace came from LOFT.  20% of all proceeds go to BCRF.

My new Tory Burch I-Phone case!  15% of proceeds go to BCRF.
And my beautiful new leather-wrap!  15% of proceeds go to BCRF.

It's only October 11.  I clearly need the month to be over, simply for my wallet's sake.  I like to buy the Pink-Ribbon bagels from Panera, my new 2013 BCRF desk calendar, little trinkets I see at cash registers....the list is truly (unfortunately) endless.

Celebrate sisterhood this month!  Celebrate our mothers and sisters and daughters and friends that fight so hard and so strong.  Talk to your family about the breasts!  It's a topic that could save lives!  And for that, I will always cheer for October.

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