Tag Archives: guest blog post

Breast Cancer Stories: Christina

Today’s guest post is by fellow breast cancer survivor Christina. Christina blogs at The Uniboob Club: Breast Cancer Does Not Define Me as a Woman, But My Battle with Breast Cancer Does! I was drawn to her blog by the title, as I am also an unwilling member of the “Uniboob Club.” Christina writes about her fight with “the beast”. She writes honestly and bluntly about life as a breast cancer survivor, and living with only one breast.

Read on to find out more about Christina:

Living with the Monster

I never thought I would ever say I have a relationship with Breast Cancer, but the truth is I do.

Did I dream about walking down an aisle, pretty in a torn pink dress as a little girl, nope I sure didn’t. Did I ever daydream about looking the beast in the eyes and saying,”I do”…absolutely not BUT in a way that is exactly what I did!

I entered into a marriage of sorts with the pink monster the day I lost my breast to cancer. Unwilling, you bet, but for better or worse I am married to the beast. I came to the alter of cancer kicking and screaming, hands bound and breast removed but none the less I was sealed to this beast, this monster in February 2006.

Do we see eye to eye? No we don’t, but by making this relationship personal, I am able to understand her presence in my life a little better. I know she is afraid the day will come when these chains are broken on my terms and not hers. I know she needs me to thrive yet I know a cure is waiting, and she will be unable to stop it. She may see me as her pet, a silly girl with a crazy plan I realize the truth: I may not be the one to cut these chains but one day some one will!

I have those why me moments, especially when I see pictures of my breasts staring back at me. Somehow seeing my mess of a chest in a picture makes this battle even more real to me. I did not chose this fight, but I do chose the life I lead, and I did make a vow to the beast when I said I do… to live my life with courage and hope. Seeing my breasts captured by both light and color is a wake up call reaffirming who I am and the journey I am on this very moment.

I honestly do not notice my scars on a daily basis. I know they are there, I do look at them, but they have become such a part of me, I am blind to their presence. Yes I do look into the mirror, but I see through the looking glass in front of me. I am aware my breasts are not the beautiful well shaped bosoms of my youth but I am not ashamed of their lope sided, scar seared and unseemly sight when I see their reflection. What I am is I am a Breast Cancer survivor. I am a woman who has found the real me in the journey. I am a mother, a wife and a daughter. I am loved and I am thankful for each day I am given. I am not brave, but I am stubborn and I am committed to finding a cure.

I have come to realize my journey, my one on one time with this beast , the monster in my life, has made me who I am today. No I am not defined by breast cancer itself but I am surely defined by the battle I wage against her daily! My strength, my courage. my hope comes from a deeper relationship with this monster. She has touched me in a way nothing else can. She has scared me for certain and she has shaken me to the core yet she has not stolen my joy, my heart nor my faith! These things she can never take from me.

Each day I wake I do so to a monster waiting to greet me. I roll over and she is the first face I see. She follows me to the mirror, smiles and laughs in her most sinister way. She makes a pot of fear and leaves her dirty footprints across the floor. Yes, she growls a lot and at time she even brushes her painful scales across my body while touching the very scars she herself imprinted upon my chest. BUT she also knows I have entered into this relationship with the knowing one day I will break free from her chains!

Yes, she may have taken my breast and along the way she may have even chipped away the years I have here with you, but she can not take away the hope from I have within me. My life is a tapestry of experiences, some for the good and some for the worst, of love, laughter, of tears and of my personal journey through them all.

Christina Olachia blogs at The Uniboob Club: Breast Cancer Does Not Define Me as a Woman, But My Battle with Breast Cancer Does!

Christina and her family

The Life of Halloween: Coming Full Circle

Tara, writer of this guest post today, is a blogger I met through the Spring Chicken Tribe, a group at the SITS Girls blog support site. The Spring Chickens are primarily a group of moms with kids who have special needs. Are you a mom who has kids with specials needs? Or a mom who is personally affected by life’s challenges? (I guess that’s where I fit in!) Come on over to the Spring Chicken Tribe, and join us!

In the meantime, enjoy Tara’s post: The Life of Halloween: Coming Full Circle

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve never been crazy about Halloween. Well, maybe when I was a kid and at the age when trick-or-treating was still cool. But that was many years ago. However, now that I’m a mom, I’ve been thinking more and more about this holiday and it’s slowly reeling me back in. My thoughts have included the “life of Halloween” and the realization of how the activities and feelings associated with this holiday have changed so much over the years.

Halloween as a kid is such a magical time. A time full of parties, candy, and dressing up as our favorite characters! There’s nothing more fun than the thought of “What am I going to be this year?” Walking through the stores, looking at all the costumes and accessories, and knowing that you can be whatever you want to be on this one day! Shelves surround you, full of glitter, wigs, make-up, fake blood, fake teeth, masks, and everything else imaginable. Then, a couple aisles over, there’s all the candy. With that sight comes the excitement of trick-or-treating and the prospect of having mounds and mounds of candy to last for months! Oh, and don’t forget, carving pumpkins!

Then we grow older and trick-or-treating is no longer cool, but there comes a whole new excitement with this holiday. Parties! I’m not quite sure at what age I stopped trick-or-treating, but I’m sure it was a sad time. Come on, even adults like candy! But I remember going to my first Halloween party. It was in a dark garage. We played a game where we were blind folded and stuck our hand in a bowl of gooey something that ended up being slimy spaghetti noodles. Halloween music played and we had fun just talking and socializing. We also enjoyed the wonderful activity we liked to call “toilet papering.” Now, apparently not everyone experiences this, as my husband never did. We snuck out in the dark of night to fill people’s trees with toilet paper. Oh, the memories.

Then we grow even older and graduate high school, some going off to college. Here comes a brand new meaning to Halloween – parties…of a different kind. You may also get together with friends to go to a haunted trail, haunted house, etc.

After college Halloween may bring yet another set of activities. You may purchase candy to pass out to trick-or-treating kids. Or you may attend yet another kind of Halloween party, a work party. My workplace would usually have a carry-in and do some Halloween activities that included passing out candy. Yes, candy! A little bit of the fun comes back

Now I’m a mother and, like I said at the beginning, I sit here thinking of all the things I can’t wait to do with Carter. Some of them we will do this year even though he’s still little, like dress him up in a costume. But next year will be like a new beginning to Halloween. The magic that I felt as a child will all come rushing back, in parent form. The aisles and aisles of costumes, glitter, wigs, and masks will, again, be a part of my life. We’ll go trick-or-treating and sit on the floor sorting through the mounds of candy when we get home. We’ll start new family traditions, like going to a pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins, carving the pumpkins together, and eventually we’ll have Halloween parties for Carter
and all of his friends.

I feel like Halloween has come full circle, at least for me. Your journey through the life of Halloween may have not been the same as mine. Of course, we all experience different things as children and adults, and have different interests and traditions when it comes to any holiday. But I hope all of you enjoy this time of year and take a minute to think about your journey through the life of Halloween. Has the magic it had in the past come back to you?

Written by Tara from Three P’s in a Pod
http://3psmama.blogspot.com

Filling in the blanks

Amanda, writer of my guest post today, is a blogger I met through the Spring Chicken Tribe, a group at the SITS Girls blog support site. The Spring Chickens are primarily a group of moms with kids who have special needs. Are you a mom who has kids with specials needs? Or a mom who is personally affected by life’s challenges? (I guess that’s where I fit in!) Come on over to the Spring Chicken Tribe, and join us!

In the meantime, enjoy Amanda’s post:

Like most moms, I bought a baby book before the birth of my first child. Actually, my sister gave me one as a gift. It was so cute: baby blue, quilted with alphabet blocks on the cover.

In the weeks leading up to Billy’s birth, I diligently recorded answers to questions about me, about Dave, about how we met. The story of how I found out I was pregnant seemed sort of lame after I wrote it down: There’s only so much description you need of taking a pregnancy test in a Starbucks bathroom. (We were that excited; couldn’t wait.)

After Billy was born, I recorded all the data you’re supposed to write down: weight, time of birth, length, size of his gigantic head. It was a little late, because he was in the NICU for a week after abdominal surgery, but eventually, I got it all down.

It was more than a year later before I stopped writing, before I closed the book and stopped checking to see if there were any milestones I was supposed to record. By the time he was 18 months old, we suspected something was wrong. By the time he was two, we were pretty sure it was some form of autism. The last thing we needed was some written reminded that he wasn’t developing according to the book’s schedule.

I went through a period, around the time of Billy’s official autism diagnosis, when it was hard for me to see neurotypical kids his age. It was like a kick in the gut every time one of his friends, classmates at preschool, or cousins could ask for a glass of milk, beg for a favorite toy, or draw their parents’ attention to something they liked. By the time he was two and a half, I still had nothing to write next to the “date he pointed for the first time” or “first time he said ‘Mama.'”

In a way, I was mourning for some imaginary child that I believed I was going to have when I first opened that baby book. And then I started to see my child. Really see him.

Our journey to autism diagnosis was a bumpy one, but the upside of it was that I spent a lot of time studying my little mystery, spending time with him, doing the things that he most liked to do.

And he could do so much. There’s no space in a baby book to record “First time my child recited the entire Charlie Brown Christmas special and mimicked perfectly all the voices.” There’s no section for recording each of the successive languages – English, Spanish, Japanese, German, French and Hebrew now – in which your preschooler can count and say the alphabet. There’s no milestone date by which your baby should know the entire Thomas the Train catalog, including the lesser known new characters from the Road Machines catalog.

My son is more than just a bag of cool party tricks, though. A baby book could never record his incredibly loving nature, his courage and determination, his hilarious sense of humor and the beautiful sound of him singing. Even at 4 a.m., even when it’s the Thomas the Train theme song, his voice makes me smile.

When Ginny asked me to write about my challenges, and why I choose to blog, I thought of this: My blog is my baby book for Billy. It is the truth. It is my place to record the amazing, complicated, fascinating person he’s becoming and share his accomplishments and challenges with the whole world. It is my way of saying, “I love you, exactly you, exactly as you are.”

Life is a spectrum and Amanda blogs about it at www.LifeIsASpectrum.com.

Amanda and her son, Billy

Look for my guest post on Three P’s in a Pod!
My guest post is about…what else?
Breast cancer awareness!

Breast Cancer Stories: A Husband’s Perspective

The other day Ginny asked me to write about what it’s like to be married to a breast cancer survivor. It’s strange, but I never really thought about it like that. I mean…I’m married to Ginny, and she is a breast cancer survivor, so, yeah…I guess I’m married to a breast cancer survivor.

But really, I’m married to Ginny. I don’t think our relationship is any different because she’s a breast cancer survivor. Sure, she worries about her cancer returning, but, then again, she would worry about getting breast cancer anyway. That’s just Ginny. And sure, she worries about our daughters one day having breast cancer. But, again, I’m not sure that she worries about our daughters because she herself is a breast cancer survivor. She would worry about that anyway. That’s just Ginny.

I seldom think about my wife’s history with cancer. Maybe it’s because I’m wearing blinders, or maybe it’s because there’s really nothing different about her that’s due to her cancer. Although it’s a part of who she is, I tend to focus on other things a whole lot more.

(Do you think Ed is trying to say that I worry too much?? ~ Ginny Marie)

You may also be interested in these two posts about how Ed and I got together:

Meeting My Husband
The Blue Lagoon It Was Not

Breast Cancer Stories: Diane

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996, I felt so young and so…alone. When I started Lemon Drop Pie two years ago, I wanted to reach out to breast cancer survivors like me, but I didn’t know how. A few weeks ago, I thought of an idea; to share stories so that those touched by breast cancer wouldn’t feel so alone.

Just think about it…have you been touched by breast cancer? I’m willing to bet that someone you know has either been diagnosed with breast cancer or lost a loved one to this disease.

This story is by Diane. Her story is also posted on my page currently titled, “Stories from YOU.”

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My diagnosis was a long time coming. Long before my diagnosis I knew I had a lump in my breast. I knew that lump was growing. What I didn’t know was how important it was to have a mammogram. I didn’t know that early detection saves lives. I didn’t know that a growing lump could mean a spreading cancer. I didn’t know that young women can and do get breast cancer. I didn’t know about breast cancer. I knew about heart disease. I was a care giver for sick and dying parents. I was a mom to two young daughters. I was a wife. I was an active church member. I was renovating a house. I was busy!! Being diagnosed with breast cancer was not in my plan. I didn’t have the time to have breast cancer. So – I did what all wise young women do – I ignored it! Yep – I ignored it.

March, 2002, I typed in two words in my medical search engine. Breast Lump. It was time to face this reality and I did. Clearly I didn’t like what I read. Reality was slapping me square in the face.

I was really beginning to see the writing on the wall. I was not playing with a simple cold here. It was time to get serious. I confided in my sweet friend Traci. (My mammographer friend Traci) Yes – I know now just how dumb I was. She knew how serious this was and had me set up a mammogram with an immediate ultrasound. She was NOT dumb. She tried to hide her tears that Monday morning while she looked at those films. She could not tell me what she knew. It was not her place to do that. She just reassured me and tried to keep her composure. Then the ultrasound tech tried her best to have a poker face. She also told me what “other” things it could be. Reality was beginning to set it. Even before the films were read I had an appointment with a Surgeon. Once again, I was told of all of the things it could be. I was reminded that I was young, had no history, was not a smoker – was really not at a high risk. Remember that 80% are benign

On March 25, 2002, Dr. F’s words were “but unfortunately you are in that 20%”. I had breast cancer. At 37 years old I had a 3.1 cm lump removed that was Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.

Please don’t ever think you are too busy to be diagnosed. Early detection saves lives. Mammograms can save lives. Self-breast exams should be done each month. If you think you are being brushed off – get a second opinion. No matter your age – you can get a mammogram. Fight for your right.

Diane blogs at Life as a Survivor.

You may read her full post here: Too busy to be Diagnosed

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If you have a story to share, please email me at lemondroppie (at) gmail (dot) com. I’d love to hear from you!

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