Nancy’s Point Of View

I Will Keep on Trying
My name is Nancy Stordahl and I am pleased to have the opportunity to write a guest post today.
I lost my mother to breast cancer in 2008 and found the experience to be quite devastating, so of course I decided to write about it. Writing gave me purpose. Writing gave me back a sense of control and power. Or so I thought.
I realized my risk of developing breast cancer was significantly higher than the average daughter since my mother carried the BRCA2 gene. However, I thought surely I would not get cancer until I was at least as old as she was when diagnosed.  She was 74. I was convinced I had time. Cancer could not strike again in the same family so quickly. That would be too cruel. I was wrong. Cancer is cruel.
In April of this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and soon realized that we never have as much time as we think we do. Before determining my treatment path, I was tested and discovered that I also carry the BRCA2 gene. In June I had a bilateral mastectomy and began the reconstruction process.  Currently I am finishing up chemo therapy. Naturally, I turned to writing once again in order to maintain my sanity, sense of control and also hopefully to be a resource for other women – with or without cancer. That’s why I started my new blog www.nancyspoint.com. I tell myself every day it’s perhaps why I got breast cancer – in order to make some small difference. I hope that doesn’t make me sound arrogant. That’s not my intent; it’s just what I tell myself each day to keep going.
The arrival of October, Breast Cancer Awareness month and all the pinkness out there obviously has extra significance to me this year. I never really believed I would be in the position of having breast cancer myself. Who does? But here I am, like too many other women, another statistic. We all somehow think we are immune. We are not. Almost everyone at least knows someone affected by this disease. Too many women will develop it themselves. Therefore, we all need to be advocates for women’s health (men’s too, of course) in general.
So, I will happily and with optimism for making a difference write about awareness here and in my own blog. I will put my pink ribbon decal in my car window in the hopes that someone will see it and think about getting a mammogram or making a donation. I will try not to be annoyed by all the businesses using this month to self-promote. I will remember the startling statistic that a woman dies every 69 seconds somewhere in the world from breast cancer. I will use whatever voice I have to help eradicate this disease so that my daughter and other people’s daughters might not have to get breast cancer. I will keep on surviving. I will keep on writing. I will keep on trying to make a difference.

I have the great pleasure of meeting so many inspiring people through this whole blogging thing, and today, I introduce you to my new friend Nancy.

Nancy is a wife, a mom of three kids (and two dogs), a writer, and like so many of us, a breast cancer survivor. You know what that means? She’s got a story!

Today, Nancy reveals a bit about her cancer journey, and she invites you to continue following her triumphs and troubles at her brand new blog, Nancy’s Point: A blog about breast cancer and loss.

Thank you, Nancy!

Nancy, with Sophie and Elsie
Nancy, with Sophie and Elsie

I Will Keep on Trying

My name is Nancy Stordahl and I am pleased to have the opportunity to write a guest post today.

I lost my mother to breast cancer in 2008 and found the experience to be quite devastating, so of course I decided to write about it. Writing gave me purpose. Writing gave me back a sense of control and power. Or so I thought.

I realized my risk of developing breast cancer was significantly higher than the average daughter since my mother carried the BRCA2 gene. However, I thought surely I would not get cancer until I was at least as old as she was when diagnosed. She was 74. I was convinced I had time. Cancer could not strike again in the same family so quickly. That would be too cruel. I was wrong. Cancer is cruel.

In April of this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and soon realized that we never have as much time as we think we do. Before determining my treatment path, I was tested and discovered that I also carry the BRCA2 gene. In June I had a bilateral mastectomy and began the reconstruction process. Currently I am finishing up chemotherapy. Naturally, I turned to writing once again in order to maintain my sanity, sense of control and also hopefully to be a resource for other women – with or without cancer. That’s why I started my new blog www.nancyspoint.com. I tell myself every day it’s perhaps why I got breast cancer – in order to make some small difference. I hope that doesn’t make me sound arrogant. That’s not my intent; it’s just what I tell myself each day to keep going.

The arrival of October, Breast Cancer Awareness month and all the pinkness out there obviously has extra significance to me this year. I never really believed I would be in the position of having breast cancer myself. Who does? But here I am, like too many other women, another statistic. We all somehow think we are immune. We are not. Almost everyone at least knows someone affected by this disease. Too many women will develop it themselves. Therefore, we all need to be advocates for women’s health (men’s too, of course) in general.

So, I will happily and with optimism for making a difference, write about awareness here and in my own blog. I will put my pink ribbon decal in my car window in the hopes that someone will see it and think about getting a mammogram or making a donation. I will try not to be annoyed by all the businesses using this month to self-promote. I will remember the startling statistic that a woman dies every 69 seconds somewhere in the world from breast cancer. I will use whatever voice I have to help eradicate this disease so that my daughter and other people’s daughters might not have to get breast cancer. I will keep on surviving. I will keep on writing. I will keep on trying to make a difference.

If you’d like to share your breast cancer story, just let me know in the comments, and I’ll be in touch!

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Metastatic Breast Cancer: Share the Little Things

Find this image on ShareTheLittleThings.com
Find this image on ShareTheLittleThings.com

Among all the celebrations of survivorship, women with advanced breast cancer can often feel forgotten in the month of October. That’s why ShareTheLittleThings.com exists — to offer the metastatic community a place to be heard, and to provide a forum for women with advanced disease to recognize they are not alone.

It works like this: Head on over to ShareTheLittleThings.com, and post on the wall a story, a photo, a feeling, a quote, a piece of art, anything that pays tribute to living and coping with breast cancer. It’s really a seamless and simple process. (I just did it — see if you can find the above photo on the wall.) Then scroll around and gain strength from what others have shared. It’s hard not to be motivated and inspired!

You’ve got to check it out to really grasp the power of this place. And if you decide to add to the wall while you’re there, $1 will go toward supporting both the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network and Living Beyond Breast Cancer (up to $20,000).

Oh, and by the way, October 13 is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

Note: That’s a BondiBand headband in the photo above. Discounts on cancer-themed bands and hats now, through October 31, 2010.

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