Breast cancer gets creative.

Currently featuring:
Beth Gainer
Linda P Graham
Mandi Hudson
Trish Leake
and Anonymous (word of the day)
Photo shared by Catherine Brunelle.

Photo shared by Catherine Brunelle.

Mastectomy Flirt.

Mastectomy Flirt.

Poem written by Phillipa Ramsden, author of Feisty Blue Gecko.

Poem written by Phillipa Ramsden, author of Feisty Blue Gecko.

It doesn’t matter how beautiful the facility is or that there is a valet ready to help you out your car.
 
It doesn’t matter that the people inside this building are some of the kindest, compassionate and skilled human beings on the planet.
 
What does matter?
 
This is the building into which I hobbled in April of 2006 to drop off films for a radiologist to review.
 
This is the building where two separate office biopsies were performed in May of that same year.
 
This is the building where I met with a breast surgeon in June of 2006 to schedule a surgical biopsy to remove atypia which was almost certainly just abnormal cells.
 
This is the building where I was told “You have cancer” on July 27, 2006.
 
This is the building where I met with genetics in August to discuss BRCA testing and the subsequent inconclusive results.
 
This is the building where I went with my mom and my dearest friend in September to meet my oncologist.
 
And in October of 2006, this is the building where I would begin my chemotherapy journey to make sure any rogue cells would be (hopefully) destroyed.
 
And on October 18th, 2011, this is the building from which I exited, exactly one week prior to the Fifth Anniversary of the commencement of “Let’s Poison AnneMarie.”
 
Five years ago, a petrified patient.
 
And this is what a “survivor” looks like during follow up exam time.
 
This is what a survivor feels like waiting for results DESPITE their stage at diagnosis or their statistical prognosis.
 
At follow up time, statistics don’t matter.  This is the face of a survivor.  Still petrified.

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AnneMarie Ciccarella (@chemobrainfog) is a breast cancer survivor with a family cluster of disease.  She is determined to be a catalyst toward changing the conversation so we can encourage research that will lead to the eradication of breast cancer.  Her blog is a poke at the fun living with Chemobrain: In The Fog.  She recently had her (not quite) 15 minutes of fame in an ABC News interview with Dr. Susan Love and in a guest blog entry at the invitation of Gayle Sulik author of Pink Ribbon Blues.  AnneMarie lives in a suburb just out of NYC.

Rejoice and Fight

By Sara K Boghdan

I used to live in the world
and then cancer came.
It took my breast and my trust
and left no one to blame.
I used to know who I was
and how I came to be.
I once could smile and could laugh
for all the world to see.
Fear of pain and death and strife
taunt me day by day.
They try to take and smash my heart
and tell me they will stay.
But now I know a secret truth
that fills me up with light.
I will not quit, I will not fall
I will rejoice and fight.
You see, I have my faith and friends
To  cheer me up, to cheer me on.
I will live, celebrate, and  love
until all hope and fight is gone.

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To read more about Sara, visit http://readypinkandable.blogspot.com.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 44 years old. Prior to this, I had a palpable lump the size of a hard pea on the arm pit side of my breast, but my doctor never saw anything on mammogram, and so she dismissed* it. One day in 2008 a mammogram showed a mass behind the nipple (IDC) and thus began the “journey” down cancer’s path. I had a single mastectomy with reconstruction and chemo therapy plus Herceptin therapy during 2009. Today I show no evidence of disease and work as a volunteer for Y-Me.org as a match counsellor for women diagnosed with her2neu+ breast cancer. I also own and operate www.TheTaffyBox.com, where I work full time in my basement art studio. My husband and I celebrate 25 years of marriage this month and have 4 kids ages 18 - 23.

*She also dismissed the risk factor of being on birth control pills for 13+ years and never once warned me of its contribution to breast cancer development.. Looking back at my mammogram radiology reports from 2007 and 2006, a mass was reported by the radiologist but was never read by my referring doctor. My message to women now is GET YOUR TRANSCRIBED mammo report! I also tell women if you have a hard palpable mass, have it biopsied or at the very least MRI. These two significant failures may have ultimately led to the loss of my breast.

Butterfly

By Barbara Monahan

She remains in her darkness.
Her focus on food and work are distractions from the real challenges.
And there are thoughts about how her body feels different.

What does it matter? Does anything matter?

Being with darkness, feeling the not feeling, questioning, listening, discovery. Continuous chiming among them.
She has no energy for it though. It is like her being belongs to another.
The power is out. The connection lost.

Darkness feels like an old warm blanket that keeps her safe.
It enables her to be inactive and hidden from the life force that calls her forward.
It is a cocoon she can easily call home and say ” not now, I need more time.”
Yet the unseen changes occur within.
Changes that connect her to her being in a new way.
A new view and path for her to take flight.


It Wasn’t Right

By Parvez Dara

It wasn’t right.
The air was clear,
The day was crisp,
The light, bright.

It wasn’t right.
The night was moonless,
The Wind was calm,
The stars shone bright.

It wasn’t right.
That plans were made,
The future was planned,
And the time just right.

It wasn’t right!
It wasn’t right!
It wasn’t right!
It wasn’t right!

But the day turned cold,
The night, black
And the cold winds blew,
The future changed.

It was small they said,
It was contained,
It was removable,
It would go.

Wish they are right.
Wish it were so,
Wish they told the truth,
As wishes go.

They say don’t smoke.
They say don’t drink.
They say don’t stress.
They say just live.

But oh in life,
Where meanings change,
And don’ts do
And dos don’t.

Confusions arise,
Pink gets color,
Green gets lesser,
While research suffers.

The suffering goes on.
Limited in time,
And pain lingers,
As dreams get shelved.

Now as cancer dies,
Life is reborn.
The past is the past,
Still entwines with today.

Memories linger
Of yesterdays,
And todays slip by
Into the past.

Now it is right,
The air is clear,
The day is crisp,
And the light is bright.

Now it is right.
The night is moonlit,
The wind is calm,
The stars are bright.

Now it is right.
That plans are made,
The future is planned,
And the time is right.

The day has warmed,
The night turns silver,
As warm breezes blow,
And the future turns bright.

It is right!
It is right!
It is right!
It is right!

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Poem by Parvez Dara, MD FACP. Medical Oncologist/Hematologist. Tweets as @JediPD and blogs on URL: http://jedismedicine.blogspot.com