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Day Ten….#31daysoflove

10 Oct

For my #31daysoflove I will be wearing pink and posting a picture of what I am wearing. I will also be tagging several breast cancer survivor friends and saying a few words about each of them. I would like you to see, what I see, about these women.

Sandra Niven – she is the super volunteer that is always behind the scenes, at everything breast cancer related, generously giving of her time and energy. I knew Sandra from a distance because we both volunteered for Making Strides. Sandra was on the committee volunteering all of the time and I was gathering and leading a large team in Charlotte. I remember the night it came out that I was diagnosed 7 days earlier with breast cancer. We were at a Strides event and it was “announced” – there were tears in the room and quite a lot of shocked faces, right along with my own….and Sandra came up to me first thing and she told me about the support group she had been attending for years, she told me that a lot of women would be by my side, she gave me her phone number, and she said “you are going to beat this”…she smiled, hugged me, and walked away. Little did I know back then how much interaction I would have with Sandra over the years. I really admire her and think she is super!

Terri Andrews – a survivor right smack in the middle of reconstruction. She had a bilateral mastectomy and is recovering from that and continuing on with her Herceptin treatments. I have never, and I mean never, seen a woman cruise through chemotherapy like Terri did. She took chemotherapy on like most of us fight the flu. She is amazing…and very blessed to have not struggled so horribly through chemo. She is one tough lady and I admire her strength and positive attitude – no matter how tough things get. I am looking forward to seeing you on the 18th my fighter friend!

Brenda Reid – another super volunteer, always smiling, always willing to lend a hand, always helpful and wanting to help other newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. Brenda has always been super nice to me and very supportive of our Reach program, our team efforts, and anything I need her for. I didn’t know her through her breast cancer treatments, but I have a feeling that her faith carried her through her fight just as beautifully as it continues to carry her through her survivorship!

Cathy Jo Young – one of my TNBC peeps! Cathy is a very strong survivor that I didn’t know through her treatments, but she taught me something very important…to celebrate and cherish the “half years” we are gifted with post cancer. Not just your regular birthday – but each half birthday too! I may not have a party to celebrate mine, but I can tell you that I thank God on those days for another half year of memories I have been gifted. She is also a super volunteer helping out in so many areas of life, not just breast cancer. She is a terrific friend and a great supporter of mine, and many others. She rocks.

Mary Stabasefski – my little Miss Mary Mac – I am so blessed to know you! We met through the Reach program when Mary was first diagnosed and our friendship was immediate. We have so much in common and so many bonds that tie our friendship together. She is just precious to me and I am proud of how she has come through chemo, bilateral mastectomies, and reconstruction. Mary also has the brca mutation and had tnbc so we also have that common bond…and what a bond to have! Mary is now reaching out to help other women and I think she is just precious and I treasure her!!

See? Many more women to love!

Day 10


Three Weeks And Two Days Post Op….

9 Oct

So here we are three weeks and two days post surgery and I think, all things considered, I am doing great. Other than tiring out easily…I am good!

I went to see Dr Appel yesterday and he removed my exterior stitches and all of the glue from the incisions. I had some extra stitches in my armpits that he pulled and some of what I thought were stitches were actually sticky adhesive with fabric fuzz stuck in them. He and I laughed over that but I was afraid to go scrubbing on some of these areas thinking they were stitches and they were NOT. I cannot tell one from another, come on, give me a break.

Dr Appel said my healing process has gone extremely well and he is very very pleased with the outcome of my surgery. He is amazing. My incisions don’t look so much different than they did going into surgery – so that’s a bonus. My fat seems to be staying in my upper chest area and my tube wound areas, and other puncture areas around my body, are doing well. All in all, even with the hard time I had post surgery this time, I am so glad that I did it.

We also talked about how fast this process was for me this time. My annual check up was August 5. I took a few days to think the surgery over and then I booked the surgery for September 15 (I had an event September 13 or I could have gotten this done even sooner). Here we are 2 months from the date of that first appointment and the surgery is over and my stitches are out. I don’t even need to see Dr Appel for three months unless I have a problem – how lucky is that? No lifting for three more weeks and no exercising. He wants my body to really attach to the cadaver skin and fat grafting and let the implants have a chance to settle in. So, that is that!

I am so thankful for this doctor…he has put me back together and I just love him and his staff.

I have to tell you that when it comes to surgeons, my breast cancer fight has included two of Charlotte’s finest surgeons and I just adore them both! How lucky am I? Very.

Day Nine….#31daysoflove

9 Oct

For my #31daysoflove I will be wearing pink and posting a picture of what I am wearing. I will also be tagging several breast cancer survivor friends and saying a few words about each of them. I would like you to see, what I see, about these women.

Kim Derry – always such a sweet smile on your face…always willing to help out newly diagnosed women and always willing to help me out too! I didn’t know you during your breast cancer fight – but I am sure glad I have known you for the past few years. You have such a sweet, quiet, and calm spirit about you. It’s just great spending time with you! AND our patients love you too.

Kathy Pruett – we met by chance and boy were we lucky. It was cool going though our treatments around the same time and seeing each other recover from breast cancer and get better each time we see each other. I love how many friends we have in common but don’t love that we don’t get to see each other often. You are such a great asset to the board of Carolina Breast Friends – and everywhere else you go! Glad to call you my friend.

Darlene Roller – meeting you in Jamaica, just by chance, was really awesome. I knew I was drawn to you – I could feel a physical connection to you and scolded myself and told myself that I was obsessed with breast cancer. Then a day or so later when you and your hubby and I were talking and you said something about bone pain I knew…I just knew you were a survivor. See? I am NOT obsessed with breast cancer, I am just drawn to awesome survivor women! So glad to have met you and we were able to share some dinner, some laughter, and some fb connections…you were the icing on my cupcake for my trip last year – I will always remember my moment of clarity when I figured out you were a survivor and I knew why I was drawn to you from the beginning!

Jackie Garner – helping you along the path of your breast cancer battle was such an honor for me. When you called me and told me what the resources you used did for you, I knew that in that moment, if I never did anything with breast cancer again, that my work has been worth it! Giving you that information was regular protocol for me, but those people changed your life! Meeting you pre-cancer and getting to know you better during cancer and post cancer has been my pleasure. I am glad you are walking with us again and you are letting us honor you!

Noreen Guglielmo – even though we have never met I am in awe of your strength as you battle metastatic breast cancer. Always positive, always looking for something to laugh about, always lifting other women… you do this – I have no idea! It’s been really nice getting to know you and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you continue to fight this tnbc battle – smiling and kicking cancer’s butt!

I am still the luckiest girl alive being able to tag the survivors in my life for #31daysoflove.

Day 9

Day Eight…#31daysoflove

8 Oct

For my #31daysoflove I will be wearing pink and posting a picture of what I am wearing. I will also be tagging several survivor friends and saying a few words about each of them. I would like you to see, what I see, about these women.

Shannon Carney – wow, what does someone like me write about someone like Shannon? Shannon not only survived breast cancer 13 years ago, she then ditched her corporate job, changed her life, and now helps more people in a day than most people help in their lifetime. NOT KIDDING. I am so lucky to have met Shannon and that she loves me and accepts me just as I am. She is such a light to so many cancer patients and she has helped hundreds and hundreds of people and their families. Wind River is truly a blessing from God flowing through Shannon and Dave…a haven for the sick and healing and a launching pad for those getting well and staying well!  So many words to say but never enough space to truly say what I feel for this woman.

Dianne Mitzel – meeting you in the waiting room of the hospital while our husbands were having surgery was awesome. You heard me talking to someone about breast cancer and you walked right over and offered me encouragement. Me – a complete stranger. And we bonded and have been friends ever since. The fact that you made the quilt for my first grand baby will be a treasured memory of mine forever. What a generous love offering while you were grieving the loss of your precious husband. That quilt has so much love sewn into every inch of it that I am not sure there will ever be another baby wrapped in so much love. You have lost so much in the past year or two and yet you continue to give and inspire. You are just plain awesome.

Casey Martinez – I met you years ago when I became the Reach to Recovery coordinator and I knew that you were super special on our first phone call. You are always willing to help out other newly diagnosed women and you are well-known throughout the Novant system as being loving and caring. Our patients just adore you! As do I. I am so glad to be able to offer you some opportunities to share your powerful breast cancer story of fighting back against a stage 4 diagnosis – and winning! Six years and counting…your story will touch the lives of many….

Jil Taylor – all the way in Utah!  I am still amazed that you fought tnbc when I fought it and then you were diagnosed again with a different type of breast cancer. Two years of fighting and you kept your chin up and your attitude strong the entire time. I love that we are able to be friends from across the country and that you are friends with my family – yet we have never met. This is an amazing thing my friend…and you rock!


More women – more descriptions – so easy to love.


Day Seven….#31daysoflove

7 Oct

Laura - Day 7For my #31daysoflove I will be wearing pink and posting a picture of what I am wearing. I will also be tagging several survivor friends and saying a few words about each of them. I would like you to see, what I see, about these women.

Paula Price – celebrating her one year anniversary today of being a survivor! Congrats to you friend. You have brought a lot of wide open laughter to our TNBC group and for that, I am very very thankful. We need your raw humor – even when you throw your scarf across the room and shock everyone with the hair you had been hiding underneath. You got this cancer thing girl  – don’t let it steal another moment of joy or happiness from you. You got this! Put it behind you and let’s move forward helping other women along the way.

Barbara Hollers – I am so thankful I have met you and that you are coming out into the survivor light and starting to wear some pink! I am so proud of you and how strong you were during your treatments; you were quietly strong. I was happy to walk alongside you when you would allow me to and even happier now to honor you as a Princess on the Primax Pink Warriors on October 18. So very happy!

Kathy Hayes – Honkin Hayes – what a trip you are! Always positive, full of light, love, and sunshine. Your treatment path was tough and you handled it with courage and grace, always there to lend positive words to others.  I wish you didn’t live so far away – I could sure use some of your laughter close by! You are a true gem and I am thankful to know you.

Danielle Murray – meeting you changed the way I handled my cancer path. When I met you I was in awe of your strength and your matter of fact attitude about cancer. You were given a VERY scary diagnosis and you fought your brains out and threw cancer right down into the cancer gutter. Now you have hit your five year mark, you have put breast cancer in your rearview mirror, you are enjoying your babies and happily living life. You inspired me to help other women, you inspired me to be logical and not too emotional, you encouraged me to keep going. You didn’t let a hard day of mine pass without texting me or emailing me or calling me and you were always there to lend an ear or a hand. My fight was different than yours but your fight was for your life – and you won! I love you girl…so very much. I miss you in the breast cancer world, but am glad your life has taken on a whole new path – a cancer free one at that.

See – so easy to love my survivor friends…they are fantastic.


Dr Appel Goes Casual For A Cause…And For Me!

6 Oct

On Lee National Denim Day, Friday October 3, I popped in to see my favorite breast cancer reconstruction surgeon to have my photo taken with him because he was a participant in LNDD and went casual for a cause!I am so proud to have Dr Appel for my breast cancer reconstruction surgeon and I have added a link to his practice on the side of my blog.

After I left his office Friday I got an email from his office manager that asked if they could post my picture on his website since he went casual for LNDD and I was one of the 2014 Ambassadors. I even got to autograph his denim day poster since I was on it! I am honored to be on his website AND be one of his patients. He is the best. You can click on the link below and read the LNDD article but at the bottom of that click on my testimonial. If you are looking for a breast cancer reconstruction surgeon with a true heart for helping women with reconstruction, then you have found your doctor…read on!

Dr Appel's website

I am proud to be his first patient on the website!





Day Six…#31daysoflove

5 Oct

For my #31daysoflove I will be wearing pink and posting a picture of what I am wearing. I will also be tagging several survivor friends and saying a few words about each of them. I would like you to see, what I see, about these women.

Allison Barnhill – you are one of the most gracious and smartest women I know! Your constant strength and knowledge helps me keep going! Bee stings and all! xoxo – you are one positive and strong woman!!

Michelle Corbett – another survivor I am lucky and blessed to know. I will never forget you throwing your arms up in the air, at your 50th birthday party, and yelling “happy birthday to me and I am cancer free” – living out loud with a bright smiley face and a happy disposition. You are such a blessing to our group and to me!

Kathy Duppstadt – I am so so so lucky to have met you, to have a very close friendship with you, and to love you. You are such a sweet, caring, and loving friend. We are all so lucky to have you. TNBC and HER2+ cancer, at the same time, TAKE THAT! You are one strong lady!

Jenifer Holland – I am so glad that we are getting to know each other better and better. You are such a special girl (and very talented I might add) – you kicked cancer’s butt to the curb and now you are loving life. I am lucky to know you and have you be part of our group!

Do you all see how lucky I am to know these women?? Luckiest girl in the world.

Day 6


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