Raw October — Day 24 (Recurrence Will Not Happen)

Raw October: raising breast cancer awareness — one fact, figure, feeling, and photograph at a time. What a difference a year can make. Last November, I nearly lost my mind after a bogus MRI revealed a possible malignancy. Yesterday, I learned that I pretty much have a zero chance of breast cancer recurrence. My doctor says she knows this because of my type of disease — my tumor was ER/PR negative and HER2 positive, which happens to be aggressive, but only for the first 5 years. After 5 years (I’m at almost 8 years), there’s pretty much no risk of recurrence either locally or to distant organs. That’s not to say another cancer won’t ever pop up, but the one I had should not ever, ever, ever return. I will not, therefore, be a woman who...

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Raw October — Day 23 (How it All Started)

Raw October: raising breast cancer awareness — one fact, figure, feeling, and photograph at a time. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) was started in 1985 by the American Cancer Society with funds from a chemical company and a drug company for the purpose of filling an information gap and empowering women to take charge of their breast health. The Breast Cancer Consortium details the almost 30-year evolution of NBCAM and highlights a few of the criticisms that surround the awareness campaign. Here’s the rundown — RIGHT HERE. Now, vote in the poll below and share your thoughts on NBCAM — is it a worthy cause or a whole bunch of pink nothing? Take your pick, then share a comment to explain your position. View This...

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Raw October — Day 22 (Body Check Journal)

Raw October: raising breast cancer awareness — one fact, figure, feeling, and photograph at a time. A friend of mine with a chronically ill child dreamed up the Body Check Journal™, she’s been working tirelessly to bring her vision to life, and now, her creation has launched. Congrats, Dawn! According to the Body Check crew, this journal “is a simple, easy-to-use communication tool that helps you easily track subtle changes in your child’s body. Armed with consistently tracked data, you are powerfully positioned to work in partnership with medical professionals to indentify and address atypical health issues. The sooner you can understand what is truly happening in your child’s body, the sooner you can address concerns and restore you child...

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Raw October — Day 21 (Hair By Chemotherapy)

Raw October: raising breast cancer awareness — one fact, figure, feeling, and photograph at a time. Warning: Chemotherapy can change the color and texture of your hair; meaning, the hair you lose will likely not be the same hair you get back. The proof is in the photo — I lost my straight, blond locks and gained a dark, curly mop. The hair transformation is not always a forever thing, though, because my dark is not so dark anymore, and my curls are not so curly anymore. With each passing day (there have been about 2,920 of them), I look more and more like my old...

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Raw October — Day 20 (Radiation Round-Up)

Raw October: raising breast cancer awareness — one fact, figure, feeling, and photograph at a time. Another year, another radiation follow-up appointment. Yesterday’s check-up went well, and my doctor sent me home with a clean bill of health. She and I didn’t even discuss breast health too much, actually — our discussion was mostly focused on my tummy troubles, which still have not been fully diagnosed (maybe my November 8 colonoscopy will deliver some answers). Our chat was a good one, and I walked away once again thinking that perhaps chemo is to blame for my aches, pains, bloating, tightness, and pressure. My GI specialist suggested this months back, a colorectal doc disagreed, and now, my radiation oncologist says I should not underestimate...

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Raw October — Day 19 (Cancer Fighting Is a Team Sport)

Raw October: raising breast cancer awareness — one fact, figure, feeling, and photograph at a time. I am not conquering cancer solo — I’m doing it with family, friends, doctors, researchers, strangers who reach out to me online, people who have donated thousands of dollars on my behalf to the cause. Cancer fighting is definitely a team...

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Raw October — Day 18 (It Could Be Worse)

Raw October: raising breast cancer awareness — one fact, figure, feeling, and photograph at a time. I wrote the following post in August 2008. At the time, I had survived cancer for a little longer than 3 years. Joey’s new mantra: It could be worse. He uses it to excuse his questionable behavior — like when he was playing at the dinner table recently, waving his arms all around like we tell him not to do, and he knocked over his cup of milk. “It could be worse,” he announced after locking eyes with my frustrated gaze. Not exactly my preferred response — “I’m sorry, mom, I know I shouldn’t have been horsing around, and it won’t happen again” would have been my pick—but hey, the kid is 7. How much can I...

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