C h e c k l i s t

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          ☑ Chemotherapy
          ☑ Surgery
          ☑ Radiation
          Maintenance Therapy
                     ☑  Herceptin
                     ☐  Anti-Hormonal Treatment

October 17, 2011

Can we truly live beyond breast cancer?

I went for the "Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC)" conference in Philadelphia a couple of weeks back. It was so good to connect with other young BC surviviors. In the shuttle from the airport to the hotel, was a girl in her 30s sitting next to me sporting a lymphedema sleeve. I introduced myself and it turned out that she was one of the girls from my online support group. It feels good when you meet people who can relate to you, give you hope, and inspire you. It was a mix of attending sessions related to the disease, walking past BC merchandise like stick on nipples (LOL!), cool lymphdema sleeves with tattooed patterns, and doing stuff like what people our age do when not battling breast cancer like shots with a bunch of girls, who will later on flash their foobs to us. One thing that goes out of the door since your BC diagnosis is your sense of modesty : you basically wear a gown that is just a pretend piece of clothing and sit in the exam room and have at least 20 different people over the next several years touch your breasts and lump(s), then just a breast, then flat scarred chest, then developing chest mounds(again), and pretend to carry on a 'this doesnt bother me' conversation with the medical professionals. After this when a bunch of crazy young BC survivors meet all they want to do this exchange notes about their experiences, amazing or bad reconstructive outcomes, see the difference between saline and silicone implants, look in awe at the grafted fipple, or the tattooed ones, look at the people with  abdominal or  back tissue transferred to their chest, etc. etc. Where else will I get to see so many live examples of what my surgical outcomes could look like, so many first hand experiences shared? I am truly blessed to have my sisters because they make me feel that I belong in this world and that I am not an outcast. I stopped wearing my stupid prostheses as soon as I got there and sported my newly scarred flat chest that weekend and later! I also came home inspired at times and saddened at times. I met a few girls who are at an advanced stage and I worry if I will see them again at the next conference.

At the Reading Terminal Market in Philly. Who can tell that all these young women having breakfast together are BC survivors?

Some retail therapy with two beautiful sisters--- Claudia and Soniya

Yes that is a shot! Alls good!

With 2 beautiful sisters---Jeanette and Soniya
Just needed to pose in the middle of a busy street

Can we put a value to a life? Since my last blogpost, we have lost quite a few young women to this disease. I lost a girl with whom I did the impact of a promise campaign by Susan Komen. I will never forget her smile, her face, her pain, and she holding her lil 8 year old daughter's hand throughout the event. Who will hold this little girl's hand now? Thinking about this makes me sick to my stomach. It is such a senseless loss. Where is the cure? We are being pinkwashed this month but how many dollars are going towards research? I truly believe we have to go beyond awareness and dive into finding a cure. There was a buzz amongst girls at the conference that some big pharmas are sitting on the cure, that they have it, but the BC treatment makes them richer with every diagnosis. Well I want to believe this to be just plain gossip and nothing else, I want to believe that no matter what at the end of the day the people sitting on those chairs in the corner offices in these big corporations have a conscience, that they believe in the greater good, that they know that 1 in every 8 women is going to face this deadly incurable disease at some point in her life and are striving hard to save lives and not only treat the disease but  striving for a cure.

Impact of a Promise Campaign Participants

On my health side, I had one expansion, by that they basically inject saline in the expanders to stretch the skin. I look like a 12 year old girl now, but I can tell this time around I am very excited about growing foobies than when I was a 12 year old tomboy! I also had my 3 month Onc appointment and I must say I am really liking my new doctor and her team. I feel active cancer treatment is like climbing a tall mountain, and I felt my previous oncologist helped me get to the top with a lot of help and guidance but just left me at the cliff looking down at the valley. This doctor is helping me get down with ease and enjoy the stroll down.

I want to say just one more thing just because its Pinktober and I know a lot of my girl friends read this blog. Do self  breast exams every month and if there is anything unusal go to your PCP right away. Anything out of the ordinary needs to be checked. Listen to your bodies. If only now I can convince my 63 year old mom to get a mammogram. Well I will pester her so much that she will get it to just shut me up! Lets see if that works!

Our Pinktober Model

I love you Christine! You are finally healed, now rest up. We will miss you a lot, but your two beautiful kids will miss you the most.

Impact of a Promise Participants and their children