my Breast Cancer blog

2004, age 34 — this is my story

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A Celebration 4 Life

It’s Not Just a Ribbon … It’s a Celebration of Life!

cancer sucks shirt

www.vmkinnovations.com

A Celebration 4 Life™ focuses on celebrating the life of a loved one by spreading a positive and hope-filled message through an assortment of products adorned with the Life™ and DoLife™ symbols, including T-Shirts, Caps and KeepKool Bandanas. Supporters can sport this uplifting gear throughout the day, and remind themselves and those around them to live every day to the fullest.

A Celebration 4 Life’s Caps, T-Shirts and KeepKool Bandanas also feature symbols in various ‘Cause’ colors including pink for Breast Cancer, orange for Leukemia and Hunger Awareness, and gray for Brain Cancer, Diabetes and Asthma. T-Shirt designs are available for any personality, and in addition to the trademarked Life and DoLife symbols, there are eye-catching phrases like “Cancer Sucks, DoLife,” “Life – Live it Forward” and “Ta Tas for Life – Check Yourself.”

A Celebration 4 Life products can be purchased online at right here or you can call toll-free at 866-756-8078 to order by phone. All of A Celebration 4 Life’s products are affordable:

  • KeepKool Bandanas – $5.00
  • T-shirts – $12.50
  • Sports Cap – $12.50

There are special rates for wholesale sales of 12 or more items.

What else? After losing his mother to pancreatic cancer, Victor M. Kasatshko designed and trademarked the Life symbol to be a sign of power and hope because the “living of life” should serve as the theme for all awareness campaigns and causes.

“The intriguing aspect of the Life symbol is that its meaning is different to each and every person that comes in contact with it according to that person’s experiences in their own life. To some it may bring a tear to their cheek, while to others it may bring a big smile since they ‘beat’ the disease.” — Victor M. Kasatshko

Strength of a Rose

Rose on chemo day

Rose on chemo day

Reader Jessica shared that she was left speechless after seeing the photos of 44 women and their breast cancer scars. Ditto for me. And after spending some time touring Jessica’s Strength of a Rose blog last night, I realize I’m at a loss for words again.

You see, Jessica lost her 54-year-old mother Rose to breast cancer seven months ago, and this is her space for telling a story of love, loss and healing. It’s a powerful journey — with a passage from Rose, posts from Jessica and photos that capture family and cancer in ways both beautiful and raw. Truly touching.

And if you really want to be inspired, hop on over to The Rose Run, and check out Jessica’s efforts to raise cash for the cure. The first run scored more than $10,000, and the next one is scheduled for July 17, 2010 in Petersburg, Michigan. Now, you might not be able to participate in this local event, but stay tuned, because you could be a virtual runner.

Every Scar Tells a Story

Every scar tells a story. Here’s Angi’s:

angi-port-scar-240jd1082209

Angi Navarro

I got my first port in April 2005.  I was told I should probably get a port prior to chemo (for breast cancer), so I found a general surgeon who could perform the surgery ASAP.  I only had to do four rounds of chemo, but I didn’t want to take any chances with ruining my veins.  As it is, I only have one arm which can be used since I had lymph nodes removed on the other side.  After I completed my chemotherapy, I went ahead and set a date to have it removed, since it was pretty much useless as far as using it instead of an IV for surgery and such. My general surgeon didn’t find it necessary to take me back into the OR to remove my port. Instead she did it right in her office, claiming it wouldn’t hurt.  At the time I had it removed, only three months had passed. So when she took a scalpel and sliced through the original incision, she was cutting through a healing wound — and it hurt. The site never healed correctly after that. Scar tissue formed on top of scar tissue. But still, it wasn’t all bad.

In 2008, when my cancer returned, it was thought that I would have to endure chemo again. So when the breast surgeon went in to remove bits of my chest wall, she placed a port so I wouldn’t need another surgical procedure. It wound up unnecessary, as I underwent radiation instead. The port sat unused until April of this year. I was undergoing breast reconstruction surgery, so my plastic surgeon removed it. Not long after, as it was healing, I noticed some areas that hurt when I touched it. Upon closer inspection, I found that I had very small bits of nylon surgical sutures poking out of the scar. I couldn’t pull them out or cut them any closer to the skin. These stitches sticking out, along with scar tissue on top of scar tissue, made for a pretty uncomfortable area. When I found out that I would be having revisions made to one of my breast implants, I asked my surgeon if he could make it a little less sightly. He agreed to revise the scar for me as part of my procedure on Monday. I’m looking forward to being able to wear my seat belt and bra straps comfortably again.

There’s a lot more to Angi’s cancer story than this. You can read all about it on Cancer is NOT a Death Sentence.

If you’ve got a story you’d like to share, please leave a comment, and I’ll be in touch.

It’s a Wrap, For Free

www.franceluxe.com

www.franceluxe.com

For the most beautiful hair ornaments in the world, France Luxe is the place to shop. Headbands and barrettes are the specialty at Laurie Erickson’s store, but for those without hair, she’s got something pretty amazing, too.

Through her Good Wishes program, Erickson is donating silk headscarves to women and girls losing their locks to illness or treatment. Why? “Our goal is to provide a small bit of comfort and share the power of positive thinking and good wishes with these individuals on their path to healing and recovery,” says the company website.

Yes, you can score a scarf for free (value: $72-$94) if you are dealing with the crappy state of hair loss. Even better, you get to pick your print. Just call this number to request your fancy freebie: 888.884.3653.

Get Fit and Get Your Mammogram

We don’t know what causes breast cancer, but we can take steps to decrease our risk. Here are two.

Simple enough, right? OK, maybe the getting fit part is easier said than done. But you can find some great inspiration for slimming down and working up a sweat over at That’s Fit — I’m an editor and writer there, so I’m partial to the place. And to make good on that mammogram (yes, it might hurt, but I promise it’s not as painful as breast cancer), check out these American Cancer Society recommendations for who should get a mammo and when. Self-exams are important too. Here, how to do them.