I Blog with Love

Just by looking at me, you wouldn’t know it. You wouldn’t know that this average, chubby woman with mousey brown hair and glasses can walk a marathon and a half in two days. You wouldn’t know that I Fed Ex-ed a couple test tubes of my blood to a research lab. Would you guess that I have probably had more mammograms than you have? That once upon a time I was bald? Or that I wear a prosthesis, otherwise known as a “breast form” in polite circles? It’s ironic that lately the ad in my sidebar randomly shows a lingerie product that I could never wear. My bras have pockets in them.

The majority of women who get breast cancer have none of the known clinical risk factors. This means we don’t know what causes breast cancer or how to prevent it.

You might walk by me at the grocery store today, not knowing that I spent an hour online last night and only managed to write six sentences. After all these years, writing about breast cancer is still difficult. You saw me at the restaurant yesterday, but didn’t notice me staring at the cocktail placard that said “Think Pink! October 18, support breast cancer awareness!” Like a coward, I didn’t demand to know where the money for those pink cocktails is going to go. I didn’t object by informing our waitress that women diagnosed with breast cancer aren’t supposed to drink alcohol. I just stared at the pretty pictures of the three pink drinks. Did I tell you I bought the toilet paper with the pink ribbons on the package? I didn’t buy it for the ribbons, but because we needed toilet paper. Yet that package of toilet paper with its silly pink ribbons on it reminded me yet again that yes, I had breast cancer.

The  Health of Women (HOW) Study is a first-of-its-kind international online study for women and men with and without a history of breast cancer. HOW is all about you and what you can do to end breast cancer. HOW is also about the researchers who can use this data to have a better understanding of ways we can prevent breast cancer.

This October, there’s something you can do that is more than buying something with a pink ribbon on it. It doesn’t require a donation for a walk. It doesn’t require much time. But yet doing this little thing may help find a way to stop breast cancer. I signed up for the Health of Women (HOW) Study. You can, too!

We will collect information about your health, your job, your diet, and your family history, among other topics that can help us get a better understanding of breast cancer and its potential causes.

This is a partnership and we need you for the long haul.
Sign up for the Health of Women (HOW) Study this October.


Step Up! Share the Love!

A few years ago, I had just returned back to school after winter break. I was in my classroom, preparing for class, when I got a phone call. It was a good friend of mine. She had lost my home phone number, but she knew I would be back at school that day. When she told me her news, I burst into tears. She was barely 30 years old and had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Last summer, I ran into a friend of my sister-in-law’s at a funeral. I looked at her short, curly hair, finally growing back after chemo. This mother of two, in her 40’s, told me how relieved she would feel if she could just reach the five year survival anniversary. Five years. I smiled and agreed. Inwardly, I cringed, thinking that the fear of cancer recurrence never goes away. Not after five years. Not even after fifteen years.

Just last week, something happened that made me tearfully collapse in my husband’s arms. “It’s not fair!” I wailed. “I’m the one who had cancer. I’m the one who had needles poked into my arms for chemo. It’s not fair!”

Yes, even fifteen years after my diagnosis of breast cancer, I still have a self-pity party every once in a while.

The three of us have survived breast cancer, even though we were diagnosed young. However, the breast cancer community online was shocked by the loss of two young women who had been fighting metastatic breast cancer. Rachel, author of The Cancer Culture Chronicles and Susan, of Toddler Planet, both passed away on Monday, Feb. 6, 2012. While I never met them, I read their blogs and am so saddened by their loss.

I’ve been praying a lot these days. Amy, the Matron Down Under, just discovered she has breast cancer, and she is only 35. Her sister Becky (Suburban Matron) had her own fight with breast cancer two years ago. I just don’t understand why so many of us are diagnosed with breast cancer at such a young age.


Today, for Valentine’s Day, Dr. Love/Avon’s Army of Women is going to Share the Love to help further breast cancer research. LOVE Goes Beyond a Cure, and So Do I! Below is a video I made in October which answers the question, “When did you know breast cancer was going to change your life?” Since this video was made, I also was able to join  a breast cancer research study. What a great feeling! (If you are reading this post in your email or a reader, you may have to click to Lemon Drop Pie to watch the video.)