Part 3 of My Breast Cancer Story

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see disclosures here.

Part 3 of my breast cancer story….. the longest and hardest for me to write:
(I decided to include information that I had originally chosen not to, but reconsidered):

(Read Part 1 here and/or Part 2 here)


So, I heard the word “worrisome”  as a result of the ultrasound. It was a Friday. That was one of the longest weekends of my life. Monday came and it was time for the biopsy.

2 days.

That’s how long I had to wait to find out. They require you to bring someone back with you when you go in for results so I brought my husband. We were led into a very small room and the doctor came in and said to me….” it is cancer…and there are several types…one is  DCIS/ductal carcinoma in situ (cancer is still contained inside the duct) and one is IDC/invasive ductal carcinoma (cancer cells have invaded outside the duct) among others. Clearly the first is the better of the two I mentioned. Less chance of migration of cells to other areas of the body.

At the age of 43, I was told I had an invasive ductal carcinoma tumor. Maybe that year and a half or so from first finding the lump would have made a difference there –> non-invasive/invasive?

I will never know.

I DO know that the cancer had most likely been growing there for approx 5-7 years and possibly as long as 10. And I DO absolutely know that had I been offered other screening because of the dense breast tissue, my cancer would have been found at a much, much earlier stage. (probably at the “in situ” (non-invasive) stage years before)

My whole reason for telling this story is to bring awareness to women. To make them aware of the risks that come along with breast density ( And to also tell women to trust their gut instincts. I didn’t listen to mine as well as I should have. I blindly trusted that last mammogram…honestly, because I wanted to, even though I think I sort of knew deep down something was not right.

After diagnosis, the next 2 weeks were a whirlwind. Doctors visits and decisions to be made. Hurry, hurry, rush, rush is what it felt like. But in reality, there was no rush really. It was a slow growing cancer and had been there for awhile. I had some time, to take my time, to really make an informed decision but I was scared and wanted it OUT.

My decision was quick and easy for me. Because of the mammogram fail and because of my extremely dense breast tissue, I chose bi-lateral (both) mastectomy and reconstruction. I just wanted them gone. But I most certainly had no idea what I had just signed up for. I wish someone had told me what to expect.  I think, had I known, and been better prepared, I wouldn’t have had as rough of a time through recovery as I did.

I’m not trying to scare anyone away from mastectomy as my path most likely would have been no different, just easier to travel had I been aware.

…and sadly, I, myself have been guilty of “glossing over” some of these details at times.


I decided to share a bit more of my personal experience in the hopes it will help to inform others who may be interested in knowing more:

My mastectomy was scheduled approx 2 weeks from diagnosis. Tissue expanders were placed at the same time as the mastectomy. Tissue expanders are a type of breast implant (except they are hard) that are sewn to the chest wall to expand the skin/muscle with saline over the course of the next few months to ready the body for the implants/reconstruction. (these are aptly nicknamed the “iron bra”) The filling is done periodically over the next few months with a needle through the skin of the breast. Sounds painful, it wasn’t, there is no feeling left there.

Next comes exchange surgery. Expanders out, implants in. However, it’s not as simple as that. Sometimes there comes revision surgeries to complete the process. (I ended up having a total of 5 including the mastectomy). But that is a story in itself….AND not typical of every mastectomy/reconstruction.

What follows diagnosis/surgery/treatment? Appts. Many appointments and tests. (one was for the BRCA gene, negative, thankfully)

For the first 2 years there is typically blood work every 3 months. Next 2 years, every 6 months. (I have “graduated” to every 6 months) Once a year after that. It’s nerve wracking, every time. But I am oh so grateful and relieved every time I walk back out of that office with good test results.

I had no lymph node involvement thankfully (didn’t appear to have spread) but was still originally set to have chemo.  I am not a chemo fan. Thankfully there is a relatively new test called an Oncotype DX test. It looks at the genes in the cancer cell and can tell you your relative risk of recurrence. Mine was pretty low so my doctor said the risk of chemo side effects was higher which meant no chemo for me. This is a huge thing since I would have most definitely been given chemo before this test was available. I don’t believe this test is given routinely (or wasn’t at the time I had mine) so you may have to ask your Dr about it.

I was also to start on a drug called Tamoxifen (estrogen blocker…my cancer fed on the estrogen my body produces). I did, very reluctantly (this drug has terrible risks & side effects) but I did not do well on the drug at all. I took it off and on for 2 years until my doctor and I discussed the risks and options (possibly removing my ovaries-still undecided). She finally said I could stop the drug.  It was a hard (and scary) decision but I have made it and can’t look back. This is not the right decision for everyone….but it was the right decision for me personally.


There have been down times along the way. Down times as I have adjusted and come to terms with all of it, come to terms with living with some fear….and the loss of a part of me.  I took it for granted when I made the decision as to just how much of a loss I would feel down the road. (fear was guiding my mind at the time, so it’s no wonder)
No one really talks about that part of mastectomy, which I think is very unfortunate for women,  so I was not prepared for the profound feeling of loss I ultimately felt.

And yes, there were a lot of “falling through the cracks” in my story but I am thankful for SO much. I am thankful that I pursued that lump even though the mammograms said it was fine. I am so thankful that it was still found at an early stage. I am thankful that my test showed I have a low risk of recurrence. I am thankful for my continued health and to still be here when many others are/were not so fortunate.

There’s something called survivor’s guilt….and I know it well. It has hit me many times over the last few years. Even now, writing about and sharing my personal experience, it hits me. Because I was very lucky. I didn’t have to endure chemo and yes my cancer was missed repeatedly….BUT it was still found at an early stage. Yes, very lucky.  So I had multiple surgeries to recover from and suffered the “misery” of the “iron bra”. So I lost a part of my body that I miss. And am scared every time I go get blood work.

So what.

I am HERE and others are not. My own loved ones as well as those I don’t know personally.
I am thankful…and I am saddened at the same time.

And ….I am thankful for the experience.

That sounds strange I know but it is true. I had no idea what others with a cancer diagnosis really went through. I had no idea what it was like to hear those words “you have cancer” and what it would mean to me. And I had no idea how different I would look at life afterwards…from the “other side”. It’s like an awakening. A new start…with new eyes.

So for that, I am grateful.

Something else, that is so very important, I learned through this experience… is to “live in the NOW”. This moment. Each moment. Not in the past and not in the future. Because now is really all we know we have.  Be present.

And lastly, this diagnosis actually led me here to write and begin this blog. I decided to jump into life and do what I love with all my heart. Using my artistic side, decorating, design and just anything creativity related are what I have always loved but had never fully pursued.

So here I am doing and sharing what I love, what makes me happy.
I love painting and creating. I love writing this blog. And I love what writing it has brought to me.

All of you.

I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I have met SO many wonderful people along this blogging journey, readers and other bloggers alike, who I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to meet, in person and online! And those that I would not have met otherwise.

So yes, it is so very true, in all things, give thanks…..because there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

I really hope that my story is a help to others. I know it is a scary subject but I hope that it has brought some awareness and knowing in more ways than one. I hope that it has informed. And I hope that it may change a life or even save one.

This was my goal in sharing my story.

Part 3 of My Breast Cancer Story - An awareness to and the associated risks of breast density - My personal story and experience -

Signature for BlogsmallFollow on Bloglovin


  1. Nancy, I just read this and then went back to read the first two posts. I am so sorry for what you have been through and so glad that you are doing so well now. You are doing a great service by sharing your story. Knowledge is power.

    1. Hi Kim,
      Thank you so much…and thank you for taking the time to read and respond. It is so important for women to know this information. And, I absolutely agree, knowledge is power…and women deserve to know this!

  2. Nancy, you are a very brave woman. I just finished reading all 3 posts. Thank you for sharing this information. You were so transparent and I appreciate that. God bless you and your family. Cancer is such a tragedy and so many people have been affected by it. Myself included. My mother passed in 07 from cancer. But God is sovereign. Thanks again for sharing your heart!

    1. Hi Lori,
      Thank you so much. It was tough to write but really felt the call to tell it because so many women I talk to have no clue about any of this. That needs to change. No one should “fall through the cracks” in this day and age with the technology, etc, that we have available to us.
      I’m so sorry to hear your mother passed away from cancer as well. Cancer touches much too many.
      Thank you for taking the time to respond Lori. :)

  3. My God Nancy, I read part 1, 2, and 3 and just amazed at your strength and courage to face breast cancer, the subsequent surgeries and medication, and to share your story. Thank you so much for talking about this, especially part 2 with the delay in diagnosis and breast density issue. I too have “dense” breast tissue and have additional films as well as ultrasound done when I go in for my screenings. I’ve had several biopsies because it IS difficult to discern dense tissue from cancer. I just want to reach out and give you a big hug and let you know how much I admire you for telling your story. xoxo, Sharon

    1. Thank you Sharon. :) Yes, they weren’t the easiest posts to write, for sure! I am a pretty private person so it was hard to open up and put this “out there for all to see”. But I really felt the need to do it…so many women don’t know this information.
      I’m so glad to hear that you do get the additional testing with your dense breasts! You (and your doctors) are staying on top of things…and that’s how it should be.
      …and thanks for the sweet words friend xoxo

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this. I, too, was 43 when I was diagnosed. And I also had a good Oncotype score, so didn’t need chemo. I cried with relief when I found that out! Still on Tamox; my side effects haven’t been bad.

    You are so brave to share this on your blog. I try not to talk about it. Every once in a while I’ll bring it up and someone will say, “I didn’t know you had breast cancer!” So I don’t know if I should talk about it more for the reasons you do – awareness, and hopefully helping another woman.

    {Hugs} to you.

    1. Oh, one thing that I think your readers should know about dense breast tissue: 3D mammography is supposed to be much more effective with dense breasts – it’s also called digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT). This is what I now have done every year, as I’m lucky to live near a center that has it.

    2. Hi Allison,
      Oh I’m so glad you didn’t have chemo too…and yes, I absolutely can relate to that feeling of relief! It is scary to be off of the Tamoxifen but I couldn’t stay on it. I don’t know how brave I am to share…I’m really not! ;) I’m still anxious honestly that I’ve written it and it’s “out there”. BUT my desire to get the information out to women was stronger than my fear, I suppose.

      I think talking about it is a personal choice for everyone…what feels right for you. I completely understand not wanting to talk about it. I didn’t in the very beginning because I didn’t want to be the “breast cancer” girl. I just wanted to be normal. But I’m not my old “normal” and don’t feel like my old self. So I finally started opening up because of how passionate I feel about it. I am a private person but I do take the opportunity to let women know (if the subject comes up) about it and some of my personal experience. I would say 95% of the women I talk to don’t know a thing of it. So I do try to “spread the word” when I can.
      And oh, I have heard about the 3D mammos but am not sure if that is what I had the last time I had one (when I was diagnosed). They did mention they switched to digital something but I don’t remember.
      But that is good information to know. (I will have to read up on that…I no longer have them myself, but for others I talk to)
      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and also letting me know about the 3D info.
      Wishing you continued health :)

  5. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing! I have had many scares and three things removed, all at different times, from both breasts. The last was about 10 years ago – the doc said it looked like corragated paper (?). She thought it might have been what you had. I have been told numerous times (every time I get a mamo actually) that I have extremely dense breasts – so, I thank you for sharing that website,, I will be checking that out. I am both glad and happy for you that you have survived and found the good in what you have been dealt, you are an amazing person. Keep the faith and I will keep you in my prayers, with God’s blessings, Trisha

    1. HI Trisha,
      You are so welcome. I really hope that the message gets out there and women become better informed. That’s so important! Those women ( have really done amazing things to bring awareness to this issue. More and more women are becoming aware and taking charge of their bodies and their health. But so many still don’t know.
      Thank you so much for the kind words and prayers! :)
      Blessings to you!

      1. Hi Nancy: I have just been diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. Your post and whatnot came to mind as I have been trying to say to myself that I have breast cancer and not just another lump that needs to be removed. I am confident that I will be ok. I meet with the surgeon on Friday. I don’t know any of the details yet – I have been encouraged to seek a second opinion – I have also had mammograms every year and every year, including April when I had my last diagnostic one, they clear me. I am thanking God for itchy breasts cause that is what led me to this grape sized lump on the upper left – the “cysts” they found in April were on the upper right — both on the left breast. Anyway, hope you are having a chance to enjoy this beautiful fall weather!!


        1. Hi Trisha,
          I am so sorry to hear that! You and me both…thankful that we were able to find our lumps since the mammograms did not! I’ll be keeping you in my prayers and please email me if you have any questions or just want to talk!!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your personal experience. I know others will and have benefit from your strength and letting us know the options that are out there is priceless. I hope this encourages others to share their stories because you never know what piece of information could spare someone extra suffering. We need to take charge of our own bodies and ask questions and find better options!

    1. Hi Nancy
      Awareness and knowledge is so important. As is taking charge of our own bodies, I so agree.
      These were hard posts for me to write but I truly felt the need to tell this story. I really do hope it helps others!
      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment :)

  7. Thank you for sharing your story Nancy!
    You’re such a beautiful woman and soul! You are no doubt going to help other women with telling your story ;)
    Much love,

    1. Thank you so much sweet friend! :)
      I do hope so! It was tough opening up and putting it out there…but if it helps others it was worth my anxiety about doing it!


  8. I read this as I am waiting for a followup mammo and sonogram to recheck a suspicious, discolored cyst-like growth in my L breast–I have had 3 large biopsies on the R – one pre-cancer and two normal. I have been very lucky. My mother-in-law, grandmother, sister-in-law and cousin (my cousin is being treated now) have all had breast cancer–all but my grandmother have survived and flourished! Your story is my sister-in-laws story–she was 33 when discovered and is now approaching late 40’s with a beautiful adopted daughter. My mother-in-law is nearly 17 years cancer free! Your story touches my heart and I am so glad you have told it. Every woman should read this. God Bless you and your continued good health. Thanks for sharing and keep on doing what you love–you do it so well!

    1. Hi Karen,
      Oh wow, yes you have been very lucky. That is wonderful that they are being so proactive with you. Glad to hear that.
      And so good to hear that your sister in law, and mother in law, are doing so well, so many years later! :) That is so encouraging.
      This was a hard story to write honestly, and one that caused me a lot of anxiety to put “out for all to see”, but I do believe an important one…so I did. I do so hope it helps others!
      I will pray for good results on your follow up mammo and sonogram Karen. {HUGS}
      God bless you!

  9. Wow Nancy…thanks again so much for sharing your story. What a long and arduous road you’ve traveled, and you’ve survived! Thanks for having the courage to share. :)


    1. Hey Andi,
      You are so welcome. It was a tough one to write…and anxiety provoking! But I felt the need to put this information out to others..for many reasons. So I overcame the anxiety! (not, I’m still a little anxious about it…but it’s important and I hope it helps others in some way)

    1. Hi Joyce :)
      Thank you so much. So sorry we couldn’t make the wedding. We hated missing it.
      I hope Barry (and all of you) is coming along and doing ok. Been thinking about him and you all. We miss you guys too…hope to see you all soon! We need to plan. :)

  10. Thanks for sharing something so very personal. It sounds like you came out the other side stronger than ever and you’ve chosen to see the positive that has come from all of this. Your positive attitude comes through in every post, every comment…and that is awesome! Can’t wait to meet up in person some day :)

    1. Hi Christy :)
      Thank you so much for that. :) And I can’t wait to finally meet you in person one of these days too! (hopefully sooner than later) :)


  11. Wow Nancy, as I sit and read your story I can NOT BELIEVE how similar it is to mine. I was diagnosed in April of 2012, found the lump myself and had invasive ductal carcinoma. I decided on the bi-latteral as well and I’m so glad I did. During surgery they did find it in my lymph nodes and removed a few. I did have to do chemo – yuck and radiation. I started that almost a year ago today. I love that you were open and shared your story. The more women I talk to the more I find out how helpful and encouraging it is to have someone to talk to who has ‘been there’. I blogged about my story too and spilled the beans to everyone. I was able to use things going on in weekly posts and tried to find the humor in them. So happy for you that it’s behind you – I know it’s such a great feeling! <3

    1. Wow, our stories are very similar! It is so nice, I agree (I know that sounds weird but know you understand!) to meet others who have been through this and “get it”. There is an immediate sort of kinship. Hugs to you!
      I didn’t mention it in the post but I had the 3 sentinel nodes removed and no cancer was found there. But as you know that is not always conclusive of migration of cells. But I am so grateful that I did not have to endure chemo or radiation because I know that is a rough road to travel that I was spared (watched my Mom go through that)
      You have been through much more than I! But hopefully it is all behind you as well. :) It is a very good feeling, yes!
      Wishing you all the best!!

  12. You are so strong, my friend! What a blessing not to have to go through chemo on top of everything else. I love that you’re using your story to encourage and inspire women and make them aware of all that is out there. Thank you for being so open with your story. Hugs!!

    ~Abby =)

    1. Aw thank you friend! I am blessed to know you as well! Hopefully we will have the chance to meet “in real life” one of these days!! :)

    1. Thats right Suzanne…who’s counting?! Certainly not us. ;) Congrats … I didn’t realize it had been that long for you. But I should’ve since you were just a little over 2 years before me. Time flies!! And hopefully we will continue flying right along with it!

  13. Hi Nancy – Just read you story and am so sorry you had to go thru this except for the personal awakening it’s brought to you. You briefly touched on prevention. I’d just like to say that it’s not going to hurt anyone to take some extra Vitamin D as long as it’s a quality supplement and that you stay within the parameters of daily recommendations. So many studies have shown that most of the population is D deficient. Not good. Make sure it’s D3 rather than D2 as well. And if anyone gets prescription Vit D3 from their Dr., be aware that the ones that come in gel caps can be questionable. I’ve recently read that the oil used in these can become rancid. Know someone right now that’s breaking out in a rash as a result. I take a powder version that you mix with water for maximum absorption.

    But my point is really about prevention. There are so many products and processed foods out there that mess with our hormone balance. Parabens in beauty products is a good example. As women, we are constantly smearing all kinds of chemicals on our skin, our largest organ. Doesn’t it make sense that eventually it’s going to knock something out of whack? Is it any wonder that our medical system is bursting at the seams. It’s a fact that most of the illnesses today are a direct result of the mass consumption of processed foods. If you body doesn’t recognize something that you’re putting into it, in will either decide to just let it go through as waste OR it may store it in a fat cell. If that cell remains in your body and never gets burned, then it can begin to fester and mutate and eventually grow into more cells and then become a cancer. It’s so important to eat whole fresh foods – especially organic, so you’re not ingesting pesticides. Something else your body doesn’t recognize as food.

    Just wanted to share that with you and your readers. You and looking beautiful Nancy and I’m so glad you’re ok.
    Hugs, Carol Anne (Bernadine’s Cuz)

    1. Hey Carol Anne, Yep, I know who you are! ;) Love and miss my Bernadine so much to this day.

      You are so right on the Vitamin D3. Yes, D2 is pretty much worthless. I just had my blood work done and my D level is 52 (was 17). It is slowly (so very slowly) going up. I take around 5000IU of D3 a day, sometimes more.
      I’ve always thought it was crazy that the Dr.s want to give out the 50,000IU of D2 to raise levels. I started with that 3 years ago but quickly stopped and moved to the D3 on my own.

      Prevention is key. You are so right. I mentioned that in my first BC post. I believe we need to take charge of our lives and do what we can to help ourselves…which is super hard in this environment of ours! One of the very first things I changed was my make up. It was all full of parabens. (parabens can act as estrogen in the body) I won’t use a thing if it has any type of paraben in it. (methylparaben, etc) Fake fragrances (most perfumes) are bad too. Phthalates, etc, bad, bad.

      I eat organic when I can and I try to stay away from GMO foods. Our foods are not as healthy as they once were…our soils have been so depleted from the minerals and such. It’s a shame really. And just makes it all the harder to stay healthy. But I do believe we can take charge of our lives and help ourselves…every little bit counts! :)

      Hugs to you!!

  14. Nancy –
    I’ve known you for several years and certainly knew you were a breast cancer survivor but never knew all of these details. I want to thank you for sharing your very personal story and educating fellow women. The information you’ve shared is both meaningful and touching. I thank you for sharing and admire your courage. Thank you for Fighting Like A Girl and sharing your beautiful smile with everyone you touch!!!

    1. Hey girl!! Sure miss you! Thanks for stopping by the blog to read and your sweet words! Hope to see you sometime. :)

  15. Hi Nancy,

    I knew you when I had different last name, back at Jan-Mar. Later I lived next door to your husband. You are as beautiful as you always were.

    Thank you for sharing your story! I admire your courage, and honesty. I’m sorry that you had to go through so much, but appreciate that you have been so honest in your account. I had a benign lump removed several years ago and could relate to a number of parts of your story. I thought I was fairly well educated but had never heard about breast density! That is insane that with today’s technologies and the medical community knowledge something like this could/did still happen.

    You have proved once again that everyone must take responsibility for their own health! Question everything, and if it doesn’t feel or seem right, ask more questions.

    Thank you for enlightening us all.

    Best wishes!

    1. Hi Sherri!
      I absolutely remember you. :)
      Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and taking the time to comment! It means a lot.
      I agree, it just baffles me that this could happen with all of the “advancements” and awareness. But it did…and sadly, continues to. I still hear stories similar to mine and that is why I wanted to put this out there to raise awareness about it.

      I hope you are doing well…it’s been a really long time (20 years or more?)

      All the best,

  16. just read all these posts and i live in fear of this. my mom was diagnosed about 2 1/2 months ago. caught early through a mammogram and swiftly removed the cancer and she is now in radiation treatments. i have just turned 40 this August and had a mammogram which came back all good. i had convinced myself that i would have it and then when i didn’t i felt huge relief however, i still have that fear in the back of my head. daily!
    i live in California and followed the link you provided and it seems that i am a pink state. does this mean that on my letter i received it should state if i have dense breast tissue? or, is this something i need to call and check on? so glad to have *met* you today and had the opportunity to read your story. although your story scares me (i cannot believe all the time that passed with your cancer going unnoticed!!) it has prompted me to check on all the things that might raise a question. thank you so much for the share nancy.

    1. Hi Kendra,
      So sorry to hear about your Mom but so glad it was caught early! Yes, if you are in a “pink” state and have dense breast tissue they must now inform you so that you and your doctor can discuss whether or not you want to do further screening. (and if you do have dense breast tissue I would highly recommend additional screening)
      I am so glad you found my blog and it has prompted you to ask questions! That is what it is all about…making more women aware. :)
      All the best,

  17. Hi Nancy,
    Just wanted to tell you, as I am sure you know, that you are not alone in all this. My mother died from the disease, I was diagnosed 5 years ago, lumpectomy, and radiation followed, and then my baby sister 10 yrs younger was diagnosed 2 years ago. Both of us… mamogram found it, early and we are fine. I still get nervous when I go to the Dr. but I call it my wellness exam, because I try to see the bright side in it. Having cancer changed me for the better, and looking at my life, it was one of the most positive things that ever happened to me because of the changes it forced me to make . I appreciate everyday. I try to live for God who blesses me constantly, and I hope other women reading this will not blow off their exams. It is not the death sentence it once was.
    God Bless you.
    P.S. You rock girl! The transformations you make with the furniture, and make it look so easy, gives me a desire to
    try my hand at it.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment Candice :) I am so sorry to hear that your mother passed away from this disease.
      And that you and your sister were also both diagnosed but so glad to hear you both are doing well!
      I love that you call it your wellness exam..I think I may have to steal that! ;)
      I call it routine but it’s not really routine in my mind but “wellness” I like. It gives a mental picture that is good for the mind (and body). Thank you for that. :)

      And thank you so much…I love seeing the transformation happening right before my eyes! Such a fun thing to witness. I never tire of it. You should absolutely try it!! But, be warned, you will probably be hooked. ;)
      Many blessings to you and your sister!

  18. I just discovered your site and want to thank you for sharing your story. You provided lots of information that I am sure will help all of us. I am so sorry you had to go through this and admire your strength and courage to share your ordeal. Since breast cancer runs in my family, I just wanted to add some information that I have learned since my sister was diagnosed with Stage 4 invasive ductal carcinoma in 2002. Because this type of cancer “feeds” off estrogen, it is important to avoid anything with natural estrogen like sweet potatoes and soy. The Asian population (with a very low cancer rate) gets about one teaspoon of soy in their diets a day, whereas, it has become popular in the US to switch to soy products “for healthier eating.” The problem with this is we get more than the Asian diet, and anyone with history of breast cancer needs to avoid soy. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a sweet potato once in awhile. My doctor also told me to avoid sugar and red meat, which also doesn’t mean you can’t cheat once in awhile. Again, the Asian population gets much less than we consume of both. Lastly, I eat broccoli or cabbage at LEAST three times a week (broccoli salad, broccoli soup, cabbage soup, boiled dinner, or just plain broccoli.) My mother was big on this, and my sister hated the stuff. My mother never had breast cancer, but four of her sisters did, as well as my own sister. I am sure they all had dense breast tissue, like myself. I have always been told I have dense tissue when having a mammogram, and anytime something is questionable, it is always followed up with an ultrasound-just standard practice for me for the last 15 years. I have never had cancer, but the risk is high especially as I age (now 60). The most important information you shared was being you own health advocate and listening to what your body is telling you. No one (not even your doctor) knows your body as well as you do. Thank you again for sharing your story. I wish you the best.

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! It truly means a lot to me. And thank you for sharing such great information. You are so right on all that you mentioned. I changed so many things once I was diagnosed and these are some of them. I actually recently wrote a post about one of the other things I changed (natural deodorant) to eliminate chemicals.
      I do try to eat cabbage (or foods from that family) every week for the anti cancer benefit they provide. I also take a supplement called DIM. I usually eat raw/unprocessed kimchi and sauerkraut too for their probiotics and also anti cancer benefit again. I actually like both! :)
      It’s hard to stay away from all the xenoestrogens in our environment but I did remove anything with parabens, artificial fragrance, etc once diagnosed. I also removed every piece of plastic from my kitchen. I only store things in glass now.
      I try to do what I can to help my body stay healthy. I have been away from sugar for many years now, since before cancer (although I do have the occasional treat!). And have never been a fan of soy products. But I know many are so that is good information to get out there!
      I am so sorry you have been touched by breast cancer so much in your family…but I am glad to hear that you are cancer free.
      Sadly, for myself and many women, part of the problem with dense tissue is nothing is found that is questionable…until it is large enough to be felt, which many times is too late. (since it goes missed and hidden on the mammogram)
      That is why I think if someone has very dense tissue, the ultrasound should be routine along with the mammogram each year. I know mine would have been found much earlier if I had. I am hoping this information gets to women and they can be more informed about dense tissue, whether or not they have it, as well as the risks that come along with it.
      Thank you again for all of the great information (I didn’t realize sweet potatoes were estrogenic!)
      Wishing you continued health,

  19. Thank you so much for your story. Your story is also similar to mine. Last December my dad was ill so I took him to the hospital. While in the emergency room I received the “phone call”. Even though I had a biopsy the day before I did not expect to get this news. This was my first mammogram. I was just 39. I’m too young, and I had been taking care of elderly parents. I have two daughters. Two weeks after I received my news my dad passed away. Even if I was 39 I was a daddy’s girl. We had to move my mother in with us, because she has dementia. A month after I was diagnosed I had my first surgery. Like you I wanted it out. So I had a double mastectomy. I had DCIS/ductal carcinoma in situ. So many friends that have gone through the same thing told me what to expect and what I would need. I have been blessed with wonderful family, friends and doctors that have helped me through this. No chemo, no pill, and all tests came back good. Less than a month after my surgery my mom had a heart attack and just recently we were told she has lung cancer. Just a few weeks ago I had my third, but last surgery. The things doctors can do is amazing (especially mine). My family and I have had a rough couple of months but if we belong to Him, God will not allow any difficulty to come into our lives that we are not capable of bearing. I had a friend to tell me, don’t think of this as a punishment. Think of it as an honor that God chose you to share a testimony to others. So thank you again for passing on your story to help others.

    1. Oh Tonya, I am so sorry about your father. And with a terrible time to find out about your situation as well. I know how tough that time must have been. I totally understand about your being your “daddy’s girl”. I am 46 and lost my mom a few months ago and I still feel like her “little girl”. I miss her so very much and was in no way ready for her to go. Not that we ever are! I sometimes wonder if I was 56, or 66, etc, if I would have taken it better. Honestly, I don’t think so. I think they are our parents and we will always need/want them to be a part of our lives.

      So sorry about your mom’s health troubles too! I so hope that she is doing ok.

      Yes, it is amazing what they can do with plastic surgery, etc, nowadays. I know it is a relief for you to have that last surgery behind you so you can move forward with your healing…life.

      I want to thank you for telling me what your friend told you. That was very powerful and meaningful…thank you for that. :)

      God bless and I with you all the best,

  20. Nancy, I’ve been following your blog for a short time but only just now read your story. My eyes are brimming over. I’ve never met you but I’m truly thankful that you’ve become part of my everyday life. Your projects, ideas, crafts, clever and fun little comments along with your openness in sharing your personal battles turned triumphs, are truly inspiring. I’m so glad that you are now in good health and pursuing your life’s passions. I hope you are aware of how much joy you bring to others in doing so!
    Sending a huge but gentle hug.

    1. Oh Heidi, thank you so much.
      That really means a lot to me! I want you to know that all of you, the readers, other bloggers and people (friends) I’ve “met” along this path have brought me much joy, inspiration and happiness too. All of you.
      And I also want you to know that I really love reading all of your comments on FB!! :) I enjoy so much the interaction with others who are like minded. Blogging has been such a wonderful and positive experience of reaching out to and getting to know others who have similar interests as my own. Not to mention those who get my DIY, painting “craziness”! ;)
      I’ve met and made some wonderful friends here.

      Thank you so much for the very thoughtful words and the big gentle hug!

  21. Nancy,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story! Like you (before diagnosis), the pink ribbon campaign doesn’t mean much more to me than that. But after reading your story, it really opened up my mind to more of what other women are going through. Thank you also for sharing about Vitamin D. I also found out that my Vit D level was at a 17 (then at a 15 when re-tested). I’ve taken two rounds of weekly 50,000 IU doses and have been trying to follow up with a daily 2,000 IU dose. I say “try”, however, I’m on another two medications and I don’t seem to remember my Vit D until I’m taking one of the other ones and I’m not sure if I can take them at the same time. So, more often than not, I’m skipping the Vit D. (“It’s JUST Vitamin D.”) Well, now I know it’s not “JUST”. I had NO idea having low Vitamin D can be part of the whole breast cancer issue. As soon as I’m done typing this, I’ll be going to take my daily dose for sure!

    On a side note, I recently came across a neat thing for people who want to check themselves at home. It’s from Plexus. It’s called the ‘Breast Chek Kit’ and retails for $34.95. This is from the Plexus website “This revolutionary kit consists of two micro-thin layers of polyurethane with a non-toxic lubricant sealed in between. When the Breast Chek is placed on the breast, the bottom layer gently adheres to the skin and remains stable allowing the upper layer to slide freely underneath your fingertips. As the upper layer slides freely over the bottom layer, friction is greatly reduced. This results in what is called “sensory touch magnification,” meaning that your sense of touch is greatly improved, which leads to more effective and accurate breast exams.”

    They also have a link with the show ‘The Dr’s’ looking at the product (and how they’re able to feel a grain of salt with it). Just thought I’d mention it in case others might be interested.

    Again, thank you for being so transparent. I just found your blog tonight and have thoroughly enjoyed looking through all of the pages. You are a very creative and talented person! Neat that this blog and your passion have come out of being diagnosed.

    1. Hi Janelle,
      Thank you for taking the time to respond! :) Yes, Vit D is hugely important factor in breast cancer (and other disease as well). I had never had a Dr suggest I have mine tested…until after I was diagnosed with BC. Crazy to me if it’s such an important thing and so many of us are (very) deficient. My Oncologist tells me that Vit D is best absorbed with fat…so take it with your fattiest meal of the day. I usually divide my doses up 2-3 times a day because supposedly your body can only absorb around 2000mg at a time, give or take. I stopped the 50,000 early and started on D3. (the 50,000 are D2). From my research D3 is what we need to take. I just started out with higher doses of D3 (around 10,000 a day). I’m now taking between 5 and 10,000 a day. (and still my levels very slowly rise…it takes awhile, in my case it has anyway. It’s been over 3 years and I am only in the low-mid 50’s, better but because of my cancer history my Dr wants it in the 80’s)
      I had not heard about that kit. Good to know. Thanks for that information…sounds interesting.
      Again, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. :)
      I hope you have a blessed day!!

  22. I just found your blog through pinterest and then found your breast cancer story. Thank you for sharing and bringing awareness on such an important topic. My aunt had bilateral breast cancer and January 2013 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer found through her annual mammogram. My mom does not have BRCA gene thank goodness, but based on family history my sister and I are in a special screening program and actually have an MRI once a year as well as a mammogram. Mine showed something “strange” so I advanced to the ultrasound stage. It came back as not conclusive so this month I will have another follow up MRI and potentially another ultrasound. In the meantime I had my ovaries and tubes removed as a preventative measure. I am very lucky to live somewhere this available to me. I wish you all the best in the future and will now be following your blog for the design ideas as well as the more personal and hopefully only happy stories still to come. :)

    1. Hi Julie,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. :) I am so sorry to hear about your aunt and mother’s diagnosis. Hope they are doing well! I am still on the fence about removal of the ovaries (I really should have it done!). Good for you for being proactive!!
      I wish you all continued health…and I hope that your tests come back all clean. It’s no fun living under that cloud!
      All the best,

      1. Hi Nancy,
        I’m loving all your posts (the handle you made from sculpy is fantastic!) You had mentioned considering having your ovaries removed and I just wanted to say that it’s been 8 months since I had mine out and it was the best decision I made. My doctor said I would go into menopause immediately and I did have about two months of light hot flashes, but nothing for the last six months. My doctor said she found that when patients have the operation by choice, menopause symptoms are greatly reduced. Anyway, it’s your decision, but I thought I would give you an update. My mom drives for the cancer society and she just heard again today of a 40-something woman being diagnosed with ovarian cancer and being given three weeks to live.

        1. Hi Julie,
          Ha! Thanks!! That was one of my first posts! :) And it’s been quite popular..I suppose because it was so strange a “fix”! ;)
          Do you mind if I ask how old you are? Was it a choice made due to cancer? I do worry about this and just had a Dr visit today. A new Dr, who is not happy that I am not on Tamoxifen. She would like my ovaries out at the least. It’s scary because if I don’t do well without them (I worry of insomina, anxiety, heart issues, depression etc the other side effects don’t worry me) then there is no going back. Plus, not a candidate for estrogen/hormone replacement of any sort to even out those bad side effects if I have them after. I will have to deal with whatever comes my way.
          I am to revisit this at my next appt in 3 months. Thank you though!…every little bit of positive information regarding this subject is helpful in making my decision.

  23. Hi Nancy, I have enjoyed reading and following your blog for several weeks now (I’m new to the DIY and I too am obsessed with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!) I get your emails too, just to remind me to check out the blog and thru reading different posts and clicking different links, I found this. I can’t really express how much your story has touched me because I can’t find the words. But you have put “it” out there in a way that i’m sure most of us “got”. I’m usually a much better writer than this! I had carpal tunnel surgery on Wednesday and i’m in a split and typing is a bitch – or else i’d be writing away! I’ve always wanted to start a blog… in a previous post, you hit it on the head by saying you had so much you wanted to share! I haven’t had a traumatic illness like you – but I have 3 chronic illnesses which effect my day to day life tremendously – Type 1 diabetes since I was 12 (i’m 44), Celiac disease dx 7 years ago, and my favorite, Systemic Lupus dx when I was 40. My story is a long one, probably boring, but I now tak care of my very ill mother who lives with us. But recently I discovered, painting furniture etc, and repurposing (on the cheap like you girlfriend!) and it is truly a lifesaver for my emotional well being! Cooking is another passion of mine as well! But thank you for sharing this…. I needed to read this today… Maybe one day you can help me get started in blogging!
    Oh, and my chair is going to be painted soon! You’ll be the first person I send a pic to!
    <3 Lilli

    1. Aw thanks so much Lilli!! So glad to hear that you are enjoying the blog. :)
      And thank you so much for taking the time to write this and your kind words. Wow, you have been through a lot yourself! Don’t discount any of that! That’s a lot being thrown your way.
      Yes, I agree, there is something wonderful that comes from reinventing/bringing back to life an old piece. I LOVE painting.
      Oh yes, blogging…it was nerve wracking to put that first post out and I had no idea where to start but I just started anyway. If someone had told me I’d be sharing all of this…this incredibly personal journey of mine a year later I’d never have believed it! But I did. Blogging has definitely taken me out of my “comfort zone” (in a good way).
      If you feel it…you should do it too! :)
      I can’t wait to see your chair!

      1. Thanks for replying! If you could give me any tips on how to get started (for when I’m ready) I’d really appreciate it! And I just finished a sewing table turned into a desk, and a vanity chair (kind of like yours!). I had no idea what to do with it – but I’m happy how it came out – I’ll send you pics if you’d like- they are my very first project, so I hope it gets better from there!! :D

  24. Dear Nancy

    Wow, it was so great to read this post. I have gone through a similar experience as yours. I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carsinoma a month before yours. I only had a right breast mastectomy even though I wanted a double, my doctor told me it would be too traumatic. It had also spread to to my lymph, so chemo and radium treatment was inevitable. I am currently undergoing reconstruction. It has been 2 years with 2 failed attempts with the breast tissue expanders and a cellulitis infection. I cant begin to explain how traumatic this has been but I am still positive and will keep going until it is done. My next op is next year where I will be having a Lattismus Dorsi Flap done. I started a blog very much for the same reasons as you did but I am yerrible at it. I have written a bit about my cancer journey but my aboutpainting and decorating, it has not gone so well. Thank you for your story and I love all you decorating tips.

    1. Hi Tosca :)
      Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. The double mastectomy was pretty traumatic in hindsight but it was do-able (I guess right? ;) ) but was a bit of a hard recovery. I am glad it is behind me though!
      So sorry to hear of your troubles with the reconstruction. I had dead skin that wouldn’t heal on the non cancer side with the expanders after the mastectomy. I had to go in again and have it removed and reconstructed before we could proceed. But thankfully I didn’t have any other complications (just reconstruction issues and a new doctor who corrected most of them with several surgeries). Don’t be hard on yourself about the blog, just take it one day at a time like everything else. Blogging is great fun but hard work! If you are trying to be successful and make it into a living, hard work. For fun, it’s easy and can be a great outlet (either way it can be a great outlet though!) Just keep plugging away and be kind to yourself! You’ve been through a lot. :)
      Best wishes to you!!!

  25. I just wanted to say thank you for posting this. It has given me so much more “awareness” than any of the gimmick-y pink or “Save the hooters” shirts. Every year all of those things are plastered everywhere you look, yet, at least for me, they never actually make people aware of anything besides the fact that breast cancer exists. I think you said it best in that it essentially glamorizes the disease. I wish you the best and thank you again for actually doing something to raise awareness.

    1. Hi Jenne,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. :) I am so glad that my post made you aware of some things that you may not have known. Knowledge really is power and we have to be our own advocates.
      You are so right when you say…all the pink just makes everyone aware BC exists! So very true and it’s really unfortunate for so many reasons.

  26. Hi Nancy,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’ve just had my first mammogram, and knew nothing about all if this. Your posts are very informative, and I feel more prepared because of them. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through so much, but I am also happy that you’ve come through it all. Thank you for your story.

  27. Hey Nancy, Thank you for being real. For sharing the good, the bad and the ugly of cancer. I have been guilty of glossing over story’s of cancer survivors because I thought that if I didn’t focus on IT it wouldn’t happen to me. (Lying to myself, I know) Last December I went to my GYN for my yearly check up and told him I felt a knot in my chest right above my breast, he check it, thought that it was nothing but sent me for a mammogram and ultrasound that day. Everything was normal. I still wonder though?? My mom is a 3 time ovarian cancer survivor, it’s been 13 years since her last diagnoses. Like you said she always has and always will be looking over her shoulder. By Gods amazing grace she began to have problems with her blatter and that is how they found the first tumor. Thank you again for sharing. And I am thankful that I found your blog just this week and read your story. I wish you the best!

    1. Hi Kim,
      Yes, it is unnerving. But I always say, (now especially so) listen to that little voice in your head. It is wise.
      How wonderful your Mom has been such a survivor!! That is so great!! I wish her (and you) continued health!!
      Thank you for taking the time to comment. :)
      All the best,

  28. Nancy,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. This is something that every woman should know and be made aware of. Unfortunately, too many doctors are so busy trying to get as many patients in as they can and often skim pass so many of the important things “we” don’t know. I found my first lump on a girls weekend shopping and dismissed it as I didn’t want to ruin the time we had planned together. All of a sudden it hit me when I got home, called my doctor and she fit me in immediately. Within the week I went in for my first biopsy and had four more within the next 3 years. None of them were cancerous but I, too, have dense breast tissue and a family history. I will be calling today to schedule a Breast MRI, which is another good screening tool. Stand strong especially when dealing with the insurance companies and your doctor. After all, we are owners of our bodies and know it better than anyone else. If something doesn’t “feel” right, get it checked out. We owe it to ourselves and our families.

    1. Hi Mary,
      Yes, I agree. There are still too many that don’t know….or don’t want to know. (I understand that feeling)
      And yes, please do! Stay on top of those tests. MRI, Ultrasound or the 3D Mammogram (which I don’t know as much about, I no longer have mammograms etc)
      You said it, “we are the owner of our bodies”…that’s it right there.

  29. Thank you Nancy for sharing this with us! I hate that you fell through the cracks thank goodness it was a slow cancer and you are here to tell your story and inform all of us! I have seen this awful cancer touch so many people around me, I pray a cure comes quickly. Lots of love and hugs to you! XO

    1. Hi Kristin!
      Thank you! :) Means a lot!! And yes, way too many touched by this and other cancers! I pray for a cure too!! Long overdue!

  30. Nancy, thanks for taking your time to write this even as hard as it was for you. You have informed many of us with information that otherwise we wouldn’t of known about. My mom had/has breast cancer, she had one removed then just opted for a lumpectomy in the other, so far she’s doing good. My sister just had a lumpectomy as well. I have yet to get another mammogram manly because of the fear of having it too plus I do not have any insurance. (excuses, I know). Glad to hear your doing well.. By the way I love your work…!!!!!

    1. Hi Tammy,
      That is so good to hear! Thank you for that.
      I am so glad your Mom is doing well and your sister too. Way too many affected by this disease!
      I totally understand the no insurance thing, I do, but this is your life. Please do stay on top of this somehow, especially with your family history.
      Fear is…just fear…it is or it isn’t cancer. If it is, not knowing is not going to make it disappear. Ask me how I know! ;) I am guilty of the same.
      Better to find early…mine was still considered early. BUT I would have liked to have found it much earlier.
      With knowledge, I would have. But hopefully, I’m helping others gain the knowledge I didn’t have.
      And thanks!! I love creating!! :)
      All the best to you!

  31. very well written!
    I get it…. however feelings were tucked deep inside as I couldn’t afford feeling them. My son has a far worse condition in which I am his caregiver. When I read things such as this, I let one of my tears sneak down my cheek…. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Suzanne! :)
      I am so sorry about your son. I often feel guilty for having some of the feelings I have. Some of the lingering fear of the future…cancer possibly returning. But then I think of others who are sooo much worse off and I feel guilt for worrying about my “small” problem in comparison. Of my Mother who passed of cancer recently..and others who have the same. I suppose it is part of that survivor’s guilt I mentioned. It is very real. And I felt it while reading your message.
      Many blessings and huge hugs from across the web to you and your son

  32. I am a two time breast cancer survivor. My doctor had insisted I have a mammo because of my very dense breasts. They found a cyst on the milk duct, very deep. I had a lumpectomy at the time I was supposed to have a hysterectomy. ( my mother had c ervical cancer). I was only 34 and it sounded like my doctor was speaking through a megaphone in the operating room. Not having any history of family breast cancer I felt safe. I had 7 1/2 weeks of radiation and mammos every six months, with blood work every WEEK.
    I thought I wouldn’t have to worry, but my cancer returned in 6 years after having mammos every six weeks. I had three lumps removed from my right breast. Fortunately they were benign, but I made the decision to have the right breast removed, along with the left ( where the cancer first appeared).
    Going through this, I too felt the need to share this with my friends, and every one I meet. the Oakland A’s have a breast cancer ceremony every year, and I am so dismayed that certain women have not returned, and new ones are added.
    I was not able to have reconstructive surgery because of the radiation that I had, ( in 1985 they weren’t advanced as now)
    To some people,it may seem funny, but I now appreciate life, and it is important to live every day in the present…….. we may not have a future. It’s been 22 years since my last bout, but I still look over my shoulder and have bone scans every year.
    You’re so right, every day is a gift. Thankfully, it keeps on giving.
    Sherry Mason

    1. Hi Sherry,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I am SO very happy to hear that it has been 22 years since your last round with it. That is very encouraging to me! :)
      All the best to you!!

  33. Thanks for sharing your story. I am glad people and doctors are finally talking about density. I only found out afew years ago I have dense breats. I have had a couple of cysts removed. What is scarey to me is the last time I had my mammo they didnt give me an ultrasound. They said it is a 3D machine which is better…. Is it for dense breasts?
    (I am calling to ask for an ultra sound) The ultra sounds caught the cysts so why stop them??? Anyway, thank you for your story it makes me take more of an action then sitting back.

    1. Hi Terri,

      I don’t know much about the 3D mammograms. They weren’t really using those yet when I was diagnosed. I haven’t had another mammogram since. (I have no breast tissue left so don’t get mammograms)
      If it were me, (and probably swayed by my experience) I would still ask for US with dense breasts.
      I am so glad my story puts you (and others) into action! :) Thanks for letting me know…that’s what it’s all about!
      All the best,

  34. Hello! I just found your site today and read your story. I too am a survivor. I was diagnosed with DCIS in November of 2011 at the age of 42. I had a lumpectomy and radiation, no chemo no tamoxifin, estrogen negative, braca negative. I got lucky I guess, and i hope to stay that way! Thanks for sharing your story. My DCIS was in the very back of the left breast against the chest wall almost, no fun, especially because 3 years later I’m still sore on that side and even a bit under the arm where they took 2 nodes (negative as well). I’m happy to be here and cancer free! I love your site and your creativity!


    1. Hi Colleen,
      So happy you were able to find it so early! That’s wonderful!
      Love your positivity and sadly with these things there are lasting aches, pains and worries that come along with the territory. I too know about those! However, I am blessed (we are blessed) to be able to be here and I’d take that any day.
      Much better than the alternative!
      Best wishes for your continued health. :)

  35. HI Nancy, I have been following your blog for a few months. I found it by accident when looking for something to do with an old armoire. I loved your red to blue armoire and copied it somewhat (not finished yet). I even already had the damask stencil. Today, for the first time, I read about you and your breast cancer. Just 2 weeks ago, my daughter,38, went for her first mammo and ultrasound because of breast cancer in the family. She, too, has very dense breasts and the dr. wants to see her again in 6 months. Her family dr., when he saw the results recommended she see a breast surgeon. of course, this was late on a Friday afternoon, so we were left hanging all weekend. On Monday, I convinced the breast surgeon to give us an appointment the next day. They redid the mammo and ultrasound. She does have very dense breasts with “cysts”. They spent a lot of time with her and decided she should come back in 6 months. She’s always had lumpy breasts and they did not feel that it was anything but cysts. I’m glad they are taking things seriously and your story has made me more aware of the risks, so we already have our appointment for July. I have so many friends who are survivors, (one just had surgery 2 weeks ago,) it seems like an epidemic. Just know that your blog is very important and so helpful, spreading information that most women don’t know and should. Thank you for doing what must be painful, reliving all this. Also, please make sure to keep track of any scar tissue or any changes to the scar tissue. My friend, a 20 year survivor, had a re-occurance on the scar tissue. She had decided, after 17 years, to have reconstruction. When they looked at the scar tissue, they decided to do a biopsy and it was cancer. This had been missed in all her previous exams. So we must be aware of our own bodies and changes. thanks again. Joan

    1. Hi Joan,
      Thank you and I’m sure yours will be beautiful! I love the blue and the stencil. :)
      It’s so good to hear that your daughter is being well taken care of. I also had cysts along with the tumor, and from what I could gather, the tech could immediately tell the difference between the two.
      So hopefully that may ease your mind a bit with the cysts your daughter has. But always good to stay on top of that since risk does increase with that type of breast tissue.
      AND thank you so much for the story and tip about the scar tissue. I had heard there could be recurrence there but didn’t imagine it would be missed! Scary that hers was missed so many times but glad it was finally caught. My Oncologist does a quick check but not every time. (I still go every 3-4 months) I am due to go in 2 weeks so will definitely mention that.
      Thanks again and best wishes for your daughter!

  36. Hi Nancy!
    So while I am sitting here super frustrated trying to do my TAXES last minute, I somehow stumbled upon your blog. Geez…how does that happen? Divine intervention? I think the universe pointed me in your direction. So, with my tax papers all scattered about, the old cat snoring beside me in her bed, the boyfriend pulling his hair out on Turbo tax trying to figure out why beginning and ending inventory should be the same numbers, 2 dogs sleeping at my feet….I am reading part 1,2,&3 of your Breast Cancer story- trying to fight back tears, desperately holding my breath to get to the continuation…hoping page 3 has a happy ending.
    I was moderately successful in holding back the tears, I figured out the inventory question and did not scream at my boyfriend, the animals are all still peacefully sleeping…and now i have a huge smile that page 3 was a happy ending. I know you are always worried, but I am so glad you are living in the present moment and living your life.
    I chose to live my life the way I wanted ( as a creative type) after my Mother died of Ovarian cancer at 52- on my 29th birthday. My Aunt died at 62 from pancreatic cancer, my cousin is on her 3rd round of breast cancer and my Father is currently succumbing to bladder cancer. I’m highest risk for everything. I choose not to let the fear of “when it’s my turn” control my brain. it is not easy. I live my life on my own terms and sometimes that is hard for people to understand because they fear everything. Next on my list is finally moving to the beach- I’m looking forward to that move and I hope it is sooner rather than later. That can be the end of my story, as long as I have a giant Pina Colada in my hand! lol.
    I’m so happy you shared your very personal story with the world- and I’m super happy you are still here to tell it. No need for guilt, it’s just life. Oh and I think I just figured out where I found you- a furniture site/ graphics fairy? Anyway….I hope this finds you happy and healthy!
    Deb :)

    1. Hi Debbie!
      I hate taxes! ;)
      Thank you for taking the time to read and for the very kind words. I am so sorry for your many losses and now your Father. It’s so very hard.
      And yes, it is also hard having that dark cloud hovering overhead but what can you do? We just have to do the best we can and truly take one day at a time. Living those moments!
      My sister has said that. When will it be her turn. No fun living like that. The “worry” of recurrence does hover about for me though. I can’t say it doesn’t. But I realize that I can’t control it completely. I can do the best I can and then just live my life. Like you said, follow those dreams and really live! That’s most important. :)
      Thanks again for taking the time to write your sweet message to me! :)
      Best wishes to you…and prayers for your Father!

  37. Just read your three part story about breast cancer. Just want you to know I think your are awesome. You share thoroughly and beautifully. Not only are you a beautiful person, but you are generous with your ideas and creativity. I’m new to blogs, but will be sure to read yours whenever it comes up.

    1. Thank you so much for the very kind words. :)
      I appreciate that you took the time to comment also.
      So happy to have you along here on the blog as well!! :)
      Hope you have a blessed day!

  38. Hello Nancy…I literally just stumbled across your blog and was compelled to read your story. I believe it was this Universe yet again guiding me on my path to try and manage my depression and get my life together, I’ve had a few “messages” the past couple of weeks (yes, I truly believe that!). Thank you for sharing your story and for the reminder about living life in the present. When I am in the depths of my depression I focus on the past and the future, and usually all I need is a little push to get back to living in the now, and then I am able to focus again and be the best person I can be for my husband and son. I can’t imagine what it was like to go on a journey like yours, but bravo to you for turning a very dark situation into making yourself a better, more joyful and authentic YOU!

    1. Hi TJ :)
      I totally believe that too! And yes, I know what you mean (and can relate) to sometimes focusing on the past and future instead of the NOW. I still get caught up at times and have to remind myself as well.
      It’s easy to let your mind go there. Living in the now relieves so many worries, issues, etc.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write…and for they very kind words.
      Blessings to you on your journey as well!! We are all on one. :)

  39. Hi Nancy!
    I have been following your blog for about 2 months now and I love every post I have seen and read. Reading your post on your experience with breast cancer has touched me in a way that I can not quite explain. Especially when you said that you were grateful for the experience…I think that when we choose to take something positive from our negative experiences, it helps us to heel and to grow as a person. What an incredible quality to have! You are such an inspiration to all of us, and I can not tell you how much I appreciate you sharing such a personal experience. Prayers to you and your family for what you have been through, and for continued good health! Xoxo! Irene

    1. Hi Irene,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me such a thoughtful message! :)
      That was indeed a hard post for me to share but I also felt very compelled to do so. I do feel it has helped many and for that I am happy!
      I am also happy to have the opportunity to reach so many. AND so happy to have the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful people such as yourself through this blog.
      It’s an amazing thing really!
      Thank you again for the kind words, about me and the blog here.

  40. Dear Nancy, I started to read your blog because of chalk paint. Love that stuff. I have been following your posts for some time now; however, it wasn’t until tonight that I read your post about your fight with breast cancer. I too am a BC survivor. I had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation, lost my hair, got curly hair (wow!) and now back to straight (sigh!). Anyway I’m so glad I got to read your story because I am due to have a mamogram and I didn’t know about the dense breasts and vitamin D being a factor. Mine is low and am now taking a supplement. Thanks to your telling your story I will be sure to be my own best advocate this time. Sisters in survival.

    1. Hi Mary!
      I’m so sorry to hear that you are on this same path but thankful that you are doing well! :)
      Yes, please do ask about your density when you go. If they are dense, please get additional screening.
      I am so surprised (and saddened!) that so many still do not know about this. It just shouldn’t be that way in this day and age!
      You really do have to be your advocate. (but I understand it’s hard to be when you don’t have the information available for you to do so! Can be very frustrating)
      So happy to hear you are supplementing with the Vit D, it is a very important component. Be sure to ask to have it checked regularly so you know you are supplementing enough. Mine has taken a long time to get up there!
      Best wishes and blessings to you Mary! xoxo

  41. Just stumbled upon this story as I mixed you up with another woman whose mom dad?? Just passed away and I thought it was you but you said Lexi and I thought daughter so I googled you and your story came up. I went to your blog and this story appeared. It hit me hard. I’ve been getting ultrasounds for many years because I have fibrous dense breasts. But now there’s a new machine but my insurance won’t let me go to that radiology place. I’m going to ask at my appointment for the doctor to push for this more. I was told they’d approve especially if he explains why plus my gun ordered the ultrasound too. Thank you for your blog and this story that I didn’t know meant I’m at a higher risk. I’ll tell my daughter too. She’s inherited my same type of breasts. Blessings

  42. Nancy,
    Ironically I read your posts about 3 months ago and thought I was one of the lucky ones who has had ultrasounds with my mammograms often due to dense breast tissue. And then, I was diagnosed several weeks ago with the exact same stage and type as you. Having your story in the back of my mind throughout the doc appointments has definitely helped. Thanks so much for being brave and sharing your story. Maureen

    1. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that Maureen! I’m so glad my story has at least provided some kind of encouragement to you.
      Hugs to you!! I’ll keep you in my prayers in the coming weeks.
      Blessings to you Maureen!!

  43. Nancy,

    Thank you for your courage to tell your story. This kind of dialog opens the door for knowledge. The knowledge which saves lives. The saddest part of the story is that we are not getting the whole story from our doctors and sadder still is the fact most don’t know themselves. Study after study has shown that the radiation from mammograms can contribute to the formation of breast cancer. And dense breast tissue absorbs significantly more radiation during a mammogram than does fatty tissue and yet whenever there is a potential problem doctors order more testing not less.
    Thermography is a safe non evasive test for breast health and can detect abnormalities at least 3-5 years before they would show up on a mammogram and yet insurance will not cover this option.
    Testing for serum nagalase in the blood is also an indicator of the presence of serious disease cancer, AIDS, lupus but most physicians would never recommend this test as an adjunct nor do most even know about the latest studies.
    Vitamin D deficiency causes the immune system to dull. The immune system is our most powerful defense against cancer and most other disease. And yet we are rarely given dietary advice on how to strengthen our immune system or told to spend moderate time in the sun without sunscreen as an efficient way to produce Vit D.
    Also, very rarely will oncologist nor your dentist tell you the connection between root canals and breast cancer.
    The list goes on and on but I would rather end on a personal note. Several years back my 41 year old friend was diagnosed with stage 4 uterine cancer. She had five inoperable tumors and was told by USC Norris Cancer Center, the City of Hope and one other independent oncologist that she was terminal and there was nothing that could help her. Basically go home and die. The only thing she had was her deep Christian faith and her desire to live for her 2 daughters.
    That was enough for a start. I went online determine to find a cure. Two weeks later I called her and told her what I had found. She had nothing to lose so she followed the crazy regime of diet and herbs. Three months later she was cancer free and in six months all five tumors had disappeared. Her oncologist never asked what she had done. He suggested perhaps they had misdiagnosed her….Huh?? Four years later she continues to follow her diet and take her supplements oh yeah and get some sunshine.
    Cancer is not some random monster. We invite it into our lives with every daily choice. But we make those choices without knowledge of consequences. Starting the conversation as you have done opens the door for us to research on our own.
    Our medical community is not given a large enough tool kit nor do they have the time to keep with all the latest research. So brave souls like you give us the courage to take on the mantle of our own health care. We can win this battle but it will be done by the grass roots by those fighting in the trenches, not by strangers in lab coats paid for their research and not their results.

    And one last thing… I love your DIY projects. You are indeed one talented artsy chick!

    Wishing you health and happiness,


    1. Hi Hilary,

      Thank you for taking the time to write.
      You are so right that the medical community doesn’t have time or the desire to keep up with some of these things. They just throw the “standard of care” at you and done. It’s so much more than that.
      And, I saw it happen with my own mother as well. For example, my Mom’s DR told her to eat anything she liked. French fries, milk shakes, burgers, etc. (their words) Anything to keep food on the stomach during chemo, etc. Against everything I knew and had learned up til then.
      I understand needing to keep patients nourished, but that is not the way!
      And yes, I’ve heard the mammograms are bad news and wonder if it contributed to mine…especially with the extremely dense tissue I had.
      So happy to hear your friend is doing so well! May she continue to. :)
      Again, thanks so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and helpful post!
      (and thanks for the sweet compliment too!)

  44. Hate to say it, Nancy, but I’m not surprised you had such difficulty w/ your diagnosis. My 1st nursing job was our state cancer hospital here in MO. We often saw those w/o insurance, or who lived miles from treatment. MD’s ignored them like they didn’t want to tell them they had cancer, they didn’t know treatment possibilities, assumed way too much. So patients would show up w/ stage 4 cancer, all sorts of places, that could have been treated way earlier, less aggressively, w/ better outcomes. ALL out of IGNORANCE of diagnosing/ treatment techniques!! Many happy cancer-free days ahead of you!! I’ll be praying for you while I’m wkg on furniture !!!

    1. It is so sad really! Especially in this day and age. Thank you so much Carol. :) I appreciate the prayers for continued good health. Blessings to you as well! xoxo

  45. Hello Nancy! Thank you for sharIng your experience with us. I wanted to say “heroic” experience, but as a cancer survivor myself (multiple myeloma), the word heroic has always bothered me a bit. It isn’t me that is heroic / brave / whatever nice word you choose. It is by Grace that I was able to endure and survive, with a long road still ahead, since MM is incurable. I have had a bone marrow transplant 6 years ago, with chemotherapy prior to and since. Cancer returned 2 years ago, but is under control thanks to immunotherapy. Yes, just as you feel, I am grateful, live in the now, loving every moment and happier now than I have ever been. God bless you!

    1. Hi Diane!! And yes, I absolutely understand and agree with that. I don’t feel heroic or brave, I just did what I had to do and continue to. :) And yes, by grace, for sure. Absolutely agree. I didn’t realize MM was incurable but I am so glad to hear that your cancer is under control with immunotherapy! That is great! So thankful for advances in medicine. Living in the now, full of gratitude, loving each and every moment/soon to be memory for all of us, is the only way to live! You sound like an amazing person!! God bless you, Diane!! xoxo

  46. You are a brave woman. And I hope everything goes on being well and you are healthy and recovered forever.
    Big hug from Oviedo, a small town in northern Spain,

    1. Thank you so very much, Charo, for the kind and encouraging words. And thank you also for the love across the miles! Means more than you know! xoxo

  47. Thank you for sharing your story. Came across your blog through the beach painting on pinterest (now pinned, thank you!). Also a native Virginian who loves the coast, and also a breast cancer survivor. Love your website. Thank you.

  48. Hi Nancy,
    I’ve been following your blog for a while now so I don’t know how I missed these posts – I look at things on your website at least twice a week!
    Thank you for sharing your experiences. I’ve had various breast lumps removed, thankfully all benign, so I keep a close eye on anything changes, BUT – I have two daughters, and I think that it is very important to pass this information on to them. Despite having seen more than my fair share of Breast Clinics over the past 30+ years (latest clear mammogram and ultra for breast changes just before lockdown), and doing a six-month rotation on surgical wards including breast surgery (I was a physical therapist for 23 years), I have never heard of dense breast tissue affecting diagnostics before.
    I am so glad for your continued health, and that after everything you’ve been through, you are able to share this message, and your immensely positive outlook, to others. I will be sure to pass all this information on to my daughters.
    Thank you, Sherin

    1. Hi Sherin, thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful message to me. I am so happy to hear that you have had all benign but it is nerve-wracking none the less, I know! And yes, absolutely. It is so important to teach our daughters all these things. And others who may not know! We really have to advocate for ourselves and take care of our bodies the best we can. :) I wish you continued health as well!
      Nancy xoxo

  49. Nancy,
    I just found your wonderful blog. The many creative projects and detailed “how to” explanations you have documented are fabulous. We have a couple of rental properties and I am always on the lookout for DIY/thrift projects that can update the look without breaking the bank.
    I too am a breast cancer survivor. Your story is eerily familiar. I am “extremely dense”, found my own lump on my upper right breast, had annual mammograms but never was recommended an ultrasound. Unfortunately I had lymph node involvement, had a bilateral mastectomy, chemo, radiation, repeat implant surgeries. I am two years out and on tamoxifen. Insomnia. Despite the breast cancer hurdle, I feel happy and lucky every day. I also make more time than I previously did to pursue thrifting and home decor projects.
    Thank you for sharing your health experience and your personal experiences. Many resonate with me. Our college age son will defer for a year, so I am selfishly happy that we have him around for just a bit longer.
    Hugs to you and thank you for your blog! Looking forward to more creative ideas 🙂

    1. Hi Lesley!

      Wow, yes, your story sounds very similar to mine indeed. (even the location of the tumor!) I absolutely hate to hear that women are still falling through the cracks though. I just don’t understand it! Yes, it is a blessing every day, for sure. Life is changed but it is so much more vibrant than before.
      And aw, yes, our son came home from college in March so he has been home with us all this time. I totally get it. He is scheduled to go back in Sept(they moved it out a bit) but I’m wondering with what I’m hearing about some of the colleges and cases they are having just shortly after going back. We’ll see! Anyway, thank you so much for the kind words about the blog. Welcome, and I look forward to chatting with you again around here! Hugs to you, Lesley! xoxo

  50. Nancy, I’m so sorry you went through that and continue to have worry in the back of your head. I think you’re creative outlet must help a lot. And of course your family. Wish I lived near you! You are such a positive person! I love that about you! Take care XOX -Laurie

    1. Aw, thank you, Laurie! The worry part has gotten better as the years have gone by but it never goes away completely. I think that is just the nature of something like this. It can be sneaky, as we know! But you just have to keep on rolling! Can’t live in that place. And yes, being and doing (creative stuff) sure does help. Hugs, Laurie!! xoxo

  51. Nancy, Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know it couldn’t be easy for you to relive it all, but thankfully because of courageous women like yourself, more women will be more knowledgeable of these issues. My mother died 44 years ago on October 8, 1977. She didn’t go to the doctor when she should have after feeling her lump. There were no mammograms then. I was 10 when she passed away. I had a lump removed when I was only 24 which thankfully was benign. I also have dense breasts. I even underwent a breast reduction so much of the excess breast tissue could be taken out and also looked at. I had the BRCA gene test, it was negative thankfully. I ended up developing hodgkins lymphoma in 2000, not breast cancer like I thought I would end up with. I caught it early and only needed radiation after taking out most of the lump in my clavicle area. But that was almost a year of radiation treatments daily. It was grueling and I was very ill toward the end. But I’m here today and thankfully haven’t had any other recurrence of that or any other cancer. I, like you, feel sometime that for the most part I try to be strong and have faith that this won’t happen to me again. But you can’t help feeling there is always that slim chance that it could. I pray for all of us cancer survivors that a cure is found and SOON. I try to do whatever I can to take care of my body to avoid the things that can potentially be dangerous to us or carcinogenic. All we can do is get educated on as much as possible. Take care of ourselves and like you said, LIVE LIFE to the FULLEST. I pray all the time for every one I know to NOT get cancer. I’ve lost so many loved ones to that horrible disease including my sister in 2012 of lung cancer. I’m sorry to hear about your mother as well. It isn’t fair. In this day and age when money can become available real fast to make vaccines for the covid19 pandemic, etc, then WHY can’t they treat cancer research and treatment the same way? Make it a SUPER priority to find a CURE. Money should not be more important than human lives. I believe there’s a cure out there, we just don’t know it yet. But I have faith hopefully in our lifetimes that we will see it happen. I’m so grateful to you for being so strong and sharing such a personal journey. You are an inspiration to all us women, and such a special person. May God Bless You with good health and much happiness.

    1. Oh my goodness, Michele! I am so very sorry that you lost your mom at such a young age. I can not even imagine. And to also lose your sister too. :(
      I am glad to know that you were on top of things and that you are so far out from your cancer diagnosis. You would think they would’ve been closer to a cure for cancer by this point! It seems they have come out with more treatments for remission and lengthening life span, which is great, but it sure would be even better if they had THE cure. Thank you for also sharing your story with me. Others read not only the posts here but also the comments and so you are a blessing to others by having opened up to me(us) here as well. Hugs to you, wishing you all the good things, health, happiness, and more. xoxo

  52. I just found you a couple of weeks ago and just now read your cancer story. I hope you will always be cancer free after going through the ordeal. I had a small bump come up on the side of my nose that my doctor at the time said it was nothing to worry about just see a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to have it removed. Well, three days later I broke my ankle so I didn’t worry about it for six months. Then I went to my dermatologist and she said immediately that has to be biopsied. It came back as a metastasized sarcoma from unknown origin. To make a long story short, there was rumor in my nasal cavity and I had to go to Texas Center for Proton Therapy for the pencil beamed radiation so I would not lose my eye. That was in 2017 and July 2022 I ended up with endometrial cancer that. (My symptoms started out with some bleeding ( I was 70 yrs old at that time)then the top part of my legs would hurt really bad. Had a hysterectomy and the doctor did a pelvic wash and some cancer cells had gone through the lining. I did chemo then radiation. I do bloodwork every 5 or 6 wks and this last time had risen from a 1 to a 6, had petscan and now tomorrow I am going in for a ct guided
    biopsies on two lymph nodes in pelvic area that look suspiciously like cancer. I have good support from my family and from my church family. I try to find peace in knowing that God has a plan for me and I know it is better than anything I could plan. There is a lot of cancer in my family. Out of six kids, we have lost our youngest sister and our youngest brother to cancer. Also, my dad and paternal grandparents. It does at least seem like there should be a cure by now and lower cost on medications. I am so very happy when I hear of someone who has beaten this awful disease. God bless you and I am glad I was led to your site.

    1. Hi Liz!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me.
      And gosh, you have been through so much! I am so sorry. It’s crazy to me that a doctor would say “nothing to worry about” when they really don’t know! I’m sorry that happened to you. I pray that your CT went well and that there is no cancer anywhere else! It is great that you have a good support system. That is so important!
      Also, I am with you! You would think there would be some sort of cure by this point. I really don’t understand how we haven’t come farther than we have.
      I’m so glad you were led to my site too. Wishing you the best and will say a prayer for you on your results!! Hugs to you! xoxo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.