Breast Cancer Awareness and What It Means To Me

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*I had originally planned one post but if you’ve read my “About Me” page you know I said there “I have a lot to say” on this subject. I suppose I really meant that because my ‘one’ post turned into three.

I’ll be posting one every few days. They are long but I hope that you will stick around to read the series as I feel it is important information and important to so many women out there.


Breast Cancer Awareness Month….and what it means to me. It’s October and I thought a good time to tell my story.

Here’s what it used to mean to me….

Breast Cancer Awareness - and What It Means To Me - My Story (Part 1 of 3)

Pink ribbons, lots and lots of pink ribbons…..just PINK everywhere with a vague presence of fear.

Yes, probably. And hope.

Hope that it wouldn’t happen to me. Hope that they really will find a cure. And  then sadness for those it had happened to and to those that had lost their lives to it.

But not much past that.

I had no idea or clue what was involved in that diagnosis personally. Now? Now I am passionate about it.

The problem with the pink ribbon is I think it glamorizes the disease a bit. All the pretty pink ribbons…everywhere. So happy and …

I think, maybe because of that,  I was under the impression no one really dies from this disease that often anymore. That is false, many still do. Women are typically followed for 5 years in studies… it only seems that way. The problem is, one of the most common forms of breast cancer (Estrogen positive) usually doesn’t reoccur in the first 5 years.
It is more likely to reoccur after that time.
You would need to follow for about 20 years to get a true recurrence rate.

I know more than I’d like to know about this disease because I am now a breast cancer survivor myself. But truthfully, knowledge is power, and the reason I am sharing my story here.

September 15, 2013 marked 3 years from the date of my diagnosis. I was diagnosed with Stage 1, Grade 2, IDC (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma) Estrogen positive.

I had been touched by it in my life before my diagnosis (I think many of us have!)….my  mother in law, my grandmother on my father’s side (early cases, both did well and had no recurrence)….and even my own mother. Hers was a very rare case. She had breast cancer cells in her lymph node but no cancer was ever found in her body.  The cancer most likely developed…and then disappeared. She lived 17 more years without a problem from that cancer only to be diagnosed with Primary Sarcoma of the lung, an unrelated cancer. Sadly she lost her battle with that this past July.

I have to be honest and say I don’t really love the phrase Breast Cancer “Awareness”….how about Breast Cancer Prevention, Breast Cancer – Early Detection, etc. I think we are all more than aware of it. I do get the point, make people aware so they will get tested, self check, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all about awareness (I’m writing this for awareness) but how about CURE? Being a part of so many breast cancer groups, forums, etc. I see how many women actually do succumb to this terrible disease. And it’s much too many. And much too many to any cancer in general.

A cure for cancer. That is what we need to eradicate this terrible and unforgiving disease.

So what do all the pink ribbons mean to me now? A reminder of what I’ve been through. A reminder of how it could have been. And a reminder that I am lucky to still be here today because so many before me aren’t. And so many after me will not.

And a hope and prayer that I will continue to stay healthy. Always a worry once diagnosed. That silent little (not so silent, to be completely honest) voice in the back of my head at every pain, every illness, every ache I feel …..there is some worry. It just comes with the territory and you learn to live with it and move on. Just like anything in life.

I am a part of a Breast Cancer Forum ( and read this there….

Early stage cancer is like crossing the Mafia and getting away with it. You live, but must forever glance over your shoulder“.

…..yes, exactly.

As I said, I’m sharing my story to raise awareness, however, awareness concerning breast cancer that has only started to be talked about in the last few years and not all women are aware of. One that I wish I had been aware of many years before.

And it has to do with breast density.

Read Part 2 of my story–> here.

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  1. Thanks for sharing this. I’m a breast cancer survivor, too – 2 1/2 years. And sometimes, yes, I have that feeling that I’ll be looking over my shoulder for the rest of my (hopefully long) life.

    1. Oh Allison, yes, I so know you can relate unfortunately. I think there is almost a kinship, with the kind of “knowing” that comes from experiencing something like this. I was discussing just that this past weekend with someone else who has gone through this.
      Many blessings to you!

  2. Nancy, I had no idea you were a breast cancer survivor. I guess that’s not something you share when you’re revealing amazing furniture pieces! Outside the blogging world, I’m an RN (Currently staying home with kiddies)and I can’t count the number of brave women I have had in my care and seeing it on a daily basis really makes it so real. I’ve seen the surgery, the chemo, the ups and downs, but I can only imagine what it feels like to actually be diagnosed. Regular mammograms and self examinations are SO important and can absolutely save your life. You are awesome for sharing your story and I can’t wait to hear the rest!

    1. Hi Christy,
      Thank you friend. :)
      Yes, I am and no I don’t talk too much about my private life on here. I went back and forth as to whether I wanted to share my story fully but since I feel so strongly about awareness…and about awareness involving my diagnosis (and way too many other women sadly) in particular. So I decided it was time to share. I bet being an RN you have seen so much. I am sure that is tough to witness as well!
      And I totally agree, self exams and really knowing your body is so very important.

  3. Hi Nancy,
    I was directed to your blog via pinterest. What a blessing and wonderful website to find. I love what you do and enjoy a lot of the same interests and tastes you do. I also have an older daughter and young son. Thanks so much for sharing your story thus far, I am looking forward to part 2, particularly about breast density. I am an RN, and even though I have a medical back ground breast cancer fears always lurk in the back ground for me. I have fibrocystic breasts/ dense breasts and have yearly mamms. and ultrasounds. I have been healthy so far, and do my best as far as prevention goes. I really think women should not have to go through breast cancer in the first place and a cure is the key, or much like pre cancerous skin lesions are eliminated before they turn into something other than benign, if only the changes in our breast pre cancer could be caught and then taken care of before anything develops would be ideal. Pink ribbons to me mean October and what if? I also feel because it is so prevalent and so unfortunately common, the seriousness of this disease has diminished. It’s like, oh you have or had breast cancer, ya my mom or my sister or my best friend does too, no biggy, who doesn’t know some one that has or had it, if you are a woman it’s what we get, deal with it like everyone else, chances are you’ll be okay…. I hate that complacent additude. No, it is not something you Nancy or any other woman should have had to gone through or go through. It is not just a diagnosis, it is a life changing, life threatening event that should not be a fact of life for us women. Seeing so many pink ribbons can sometimes make it seem that way to me, they have become a common part of the scenery, and sometimes we ignore the scenery just because it is always there. Stories like yours and of so many more other women demand that we all take notice, be aware and take action. Seeing and hearing inpsirational women like you make me a little less afraid and much braver. Hey if she can do it and get through it, then so can I. Of course, I hope to heck I never have to, but if I ever do, it’s the hopeful stories and sisterhood of women unlike men who do not share as we do, that would push me to fight and survive, not the little pretty pink ribbon I so often see and even wear myself. Thanks for sharing your self and all the beautiful things you do.

    1. Hi Mary,
      Thank you so much :)
      You are already one step ahead of where I was for years. I also had fibrocystic breasts/”extremely” dense tissue but was never offered ultrasound (and didn’t know to ask). Seven years of mammograms only. So you are being very proactive and doing the right thing.
      Totally agree with you on the thought that women should not have to go through this in the first place. It doesn’t seem like we are any closer to a cure than we were 20 or more years ago?
      So right on the prevalence and the desensitization that comes along with it. I was guilty of that myself….until I was diagnosed and started reading and researching.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me …and for the incredibly thoughtful words you wrote.

  4. Hugs Nancy! I didn’t know you were a survivor. Thanks so much for sharing, and I look forward to the rest of your posts. Have a blessed Sunday!!!


  5. I know that this is a very personal subject for you. And I know you don’t want to reveal too much. But I was hoping you might address the treatment option you picked in a future post. I’m currently struggling with this myself & was given 3 options. My doc is helping me connect with people who have had the different options. I hope, learning more from people who experienced it firsthand, will help me with my choice. Wishing you continued health, Aimee

    1. Hi Aimee,

      Oh, I am so sorry you are going through this too! I have posted Part 2 of my story on the blog just today. Part 3 (I will post later this week) is more about the treatment options I chose/didn’t choose. I don’t go into huge detail about that on the post though. However, I am more than glad to talk with you about what I did and why, etc. You can reach me through email or the contact form here on the blog and we can talk more privately about any questions you may have. I’d be more than glad to answer what I can!

  6. I think it’s wonderful that you are sharing your story. Anytime someone that you know shares something important and serious about their life it has much more of an never know who will read it and how it will affect them. Great job!!! Sending hugs across the water!

    1. Hi Paula,
      Thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, cancer is scary stuff so staying on top of things and being informed is so important!


  7. What a touching story and congrats on 3 years!! Cancer is a horrible disease and I wish there was a cure too. We lost my nephew this year to Testicular cancer, it is a horrible disease and devastates too any families every year.

    1. Thank you! :)
      Oh, I’m so sorry for the loss of your nephew. How very sad. :( Too many losses from this terrible disease.

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