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This October, I celebrate my 7-year "cancerversary"! I’m hoping to keep my boyfriend NED (No Evidence of Disease) around for as long as possible (my husband is totally cool with him!).
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2011, 2 weeks before my 33rd birthday, after I felt a lump in the shower. I had a bilateral mastectomy and four rounds of chemotherapy. I still see my oncologist every six months and still experience "scanxiety" and that little ball of fear every time a new ache or pain pops up (which is happening more often as I approach 40!), praying that it's not cancer related.
The most supportive thing my tribe did for me during my cancer experience (and to this day!) is to show up. This could be a text message with no expectation of a response, a voicemail that said, "I'm thinking of you," a home cooked meal, or knocking on our door to grab my kids and take them to play. These seemingly small acts of kindness showed me that even during my darkest times, I was not alone. That was incredibly comforting when I felt trapped in a fog of isolated darkness.
Cancer changed my entire perspective on life and what "living each day to the fullest" means to me. The fleeting concept of time impacts how I choose to live each day. I channeled my cancer experience into the creation of a non-profit crowdfunding platform for medical research. Consano, which means "to heal" in Latin, has been an incredibly healing way to take back control over how my story plays out in this world. I couldn't control my "rogue chest," but I CAN control what I do with my experience, going forward. Creating and growing Consano has been a profoundly healing force in my own life.
You asked what I put in my Handful bra -- a lot of attitude! But seriously, I usually do one pad on each side because I had a nipple-sparing bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, and it smooths the lumps and bumps nicely and gives me a little extra cleavage for the foobs! Because I can wear my Battle Cry Pink Handful for work and play, I plan to live the hell out of each day with gratitude for the time I have been granted and in honor of my breast cancer sisters who were taken from us too soon by this beast!