Note: You will want to mute the music below prior to watching the videos.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Today I Celebrate Being a Survivor for Two Years!

Two years ago today I had a bilateral mastectomy.  It was a bitter sweet day.  Walking into the hospital at 5:30 in the morning I knew I was going in with my breasts and I would leave without them.  However, I also knew that I was walking in with cancer and would walk out cancer free.  Having the bilateral mastectomy was just the beginning of the journey.  Months of chemotherapy and reconstruction would follow.  Now, two years later, I do not look like a woman who has had breast cancer.  July 16th will always be a milestone in my life....another year of being cancer free.  Praise the Lord! 

Here are some pics that were taken the morning of my mastectomy and during my time in the hospital.

Before Surgery.....

Right after surgery.  Charley brought me one of her stuffed animals from home.

Relaxing....or trying to relax!

Charley, Me, and Ryan

Two years later!!!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Susan Komen Race 2010

Thank you God for Life and for the ability to bring hope to others!  On June 12th, I ran (ok....I ran 1/2 of the time but that is only because it was 115 degrees) in the Susan Komen Race in St. Louis. Last year was my first year to run the race and it was at that time I decided that I would participate every year that I could from that point on. Being a part of the Susan Komen Race for a Cure is amazing. There are no words to describe the number of women affected by breast cancer or the number of people who participate. This year there were nearly 72,000 participants and 3.4 million raised to end breast cancer forever! It felt so good to have Ryan and Charley there with me. Charley actually walked in the Survivor Procession with me and that was EXTRA special. If you have never participated in a Susan Komen Race, I would highly encourage you to do so...whether you have been directly affected by breast cancer or not. It is incredibly inspiring to see so many come together for an amazing cause. Below is a link to a slide show I put together of the Race. The song "I Run for Life" by Melissa Etheridge plays along with the slide show. I heard it for the first time the day of the race and it really prepared me to run (walk) 3.1 miles. You will have to watch the slide show several times to hear the entire of the song...but it's worth it!  Enjoy!

Susan Komen Race 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hope Comes From Having Purpose

After several months of neglecting this blog, I decided to pay it a visit. I was amazed by the number of people who still continue to find my blog and read about my journey. With that being said, I was disappointed in myself for not having posted anything sooner. So, for those who are currently visiting the blog.....I am here to tell you that LIFE IS GREAT!!! I have been enjoying a fun-filled summer with my daughter, Charley, and husband, Ryan. Charley turned 4 on June 29th. Two weeks before Charley turned 2 years old I was diagnosed with breast cancer. So, every birthday is a milestone. Not only is my daughter one year older, but I am one year further away from that diagnosis. Praise the Lord!

When I was first diagnosed, I chose to believe that it was for a reason. Although I was consumed with despair and feelings of fear....I really did believe that God would one day use me and my journey to make a difference. For the past two years, I have waited patiently for the Lord to open that door of opportunity and in the past few months, I have seen that door slowly begin to open. Glory to God! Just recently I received a call from Oglivy marketing firm in NY,NY. They have asked myself, along with several other women across the United States, to represent Myriad Genetic Testing as a patient speaker. I will be a part of what is called the BRCA Pack. This is a group of women who have tested positive for either the BRCA 1 or 2. Of these women, some have had cancer, some have not. Some have chosen to have prophylactic mastectomies as a preventative measure, and again, some have not. Some are like me and tested positive after they were diagnosed. The BRCA Pack represents a number of women affected in one way or another with the BRCA gene who want to share their story and be an advocate for genetic testing. In October, Ogilvy will fly me to Salt Lake City, Utah. That is where the Myriad Genetic Testing Lab is located. I will have a chance to share my story personally, meet with people from the marketing firm, and tour the lab. Once I return home, I will be used by Ogilvy to travel around the country and speak to physicians, media, and others on the importance of genetic testing along with sharing my personal story. I am so excited for this opportunity and know that it comes from God!

In addition to being a part of the BRCA pack, I am working closely with an amazing photographer on a possible project that could be life changing for those affected by breast cancer. I won't go into much detail now, as we are just in the beginning stages of the project. However, there is no doubt that God's favor is working. My prayer is that this project will bring hope to not only women affected directly by breast cancer, but hope to those who are affected indirectly. There are so many people that often get lost in the mix when a loved one or a friend is diagnosed. This project will be one that impacts husbands, children, friends, physicians, and others.

If you are reading this and have been diagnosed with breast cancer, don't give up matter where you are in your journey. I am currently reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. The following is an excerpt from his book: "Hope is essential to your life as air and water. You need hope to cope. Dr. Bernie Siegel found he could predict which of his cancer patients would go into remission by asking, "Do you want to live to be one hundred?" Those with a deep sense of life purpose answered yes and were the ones most likely to survive. Hope comes from having purpose." Being diagnosed with breast cancer is a horrible thing. I know first hand. However, your journey with breast cancer also gives you a great purpose in life, if you choose to believe that. God Bless!

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not harm you; plans to bring you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11