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Ten Years Cancer Free!

Posted by Cary Goldberg on

Ten years! The day that marks a huge milestone in cancer survivorship is finally here...is finally mine. I did it! 

Ten years ago I wondered if I would live to see the kindergarten bus come to get my daughters, then 1 and 4 at the time of my unexpected late stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis. Not only did I get to see kindergarten come and go, but now I have a freshman in high school and another starting junior high, and I'm completely out of the brutal wilderness of active treatment, no longer taking so much as a single prescription drug to stave off cancer's return. Ten years is the bar set by insurance actuarial tables that finally put someone like me back in the mix with the rest of the population, eligible for a life insurance policy and a statistically equivalent shot at living to a ripe old age. I'll take it! 

The first five of those ten years were spent focused on intense slash, burn, and poison — surgery, radiation and chemo — and the next five years on entrepreneurial trial by fire as one of the four women owners of Handful, Inc. I am so proud to say I lived to tell about my trip to hell and back, how I found a way to make meaning out of suffering, and how today I get the privilege to help other breast cancer survivors who come after me answer the daily question, "how do I get dressed happy?" when cancer tries to rob you of certainty, hope, and self-esteem.  

In these last ten years I have seen too many great friends and fellow survivors recur and pass away. I’m under no illusions that ten years under my belt gives me a permanent free pass. Heather, Nicole, Kira, and Janet were mothers, just like me, who did everything the doctors told them to do, just like me, but who did not get to celebrate nearly enough cancer free milestones and more importantly watch their children grow up. I celebrate today for those we will never forget. I have also experienced here at Handful, the cruel twist of statistical fate when the 1 in 8 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime just so happen to be 3 out of the 24 women who work closest with us. Two of our sales reps and none other than our Director of Marketing, working tirelessly every day for a company that supports women with breast cancer…and then they get breast cancer!? It brings home just how prevalent this disease truly is and reminds us all that there will be many more among us who will face this same fate. We are here for you if the time ever comes for your number to be called, and we are counting on you to be there for the women in your circles to make sure you are there to support them because that’s what Handful women do. We support each other, no matter what life throws our way.


Ten years also holds tremendous significance for my daughters, both of whom were born into a family that ten years ago had zero history of breast cancer. Now I have to live with the knowledge that our powerful family history of breast cancer begins and most likely will not end with me. My girls and my future grandchildren will face vigilant screening in their early 20s because subsequent generations often face a diagnosis ten years earlier than the one that came before. As soon as they finish college, my girls will need to start thinking of their breasts differently, as potentially traitorous and prone to disease. That is not the legacy anyone hopes to pass on, but I am grateful that Handful gives me a way to deal with my own double breastlessness with positivity, just pick a color and get dressed happy, and encourages us all to put on a bra with a wink and a smile, instead of attending to a daily nuisance, whether breast cancer, gravity, weight loss, breastfeeding, or the sands of time are the cause of negative feelings about your chest. That’s a legacy I can get behind, reminding women every day to love themselves and the amazing bodies that carry them through life. 

As I step out on this first day of the next decade, I want to ask you to give me the best ten year cancerversary gift in the world! Would you please tell a survivor you know how Handful can help them:
  • Friends with Benefits — Handful is eligible for coverage through insurance if your local mastectomy provider carries us (tell them to carry us!)
  • Breast Friends Forever — Survivors who want to skip the insurance hassle are eligible for 30% off any full price pocketed bra. 
  • Flat and Fabulous — Survivors who have lost a breast to cancer and want to use Handful Lights Out™ Pad Sets as prosthetics get them for FREE with every bra purchased. 
All a survivor needs to do is email me directly, and I will hook them up. What I wear every day is an $80 set up (one bra, three sets of pads). Any survivor who wants what I wear can have it for only $35.00, and we ship it to them free. And if your friend has had a lumpectomy or reconstruction, they can still get a bra for 30% off because being uneven from a chunk missing or because one foob is bigger than the other can be solved by a Handful too!
Lastly, it wouldn’t be October if there wasn’t something pink to plug, but in this case, we at Handful are well aware of how puke-worthy pink ribbons can be for survivors and all the rampant profiteering that goes on in the name of breast cancer fund-raising during Pinktober. But despite this, we are consciously giving back to an organization that helped me ten years ago when I could find no one like me to turn to for advice, support, hope. Handful will give $5 to the Young Survival Coalition for every Cheeky pink Adjustable Handful Bra sold this month. The YSC is the premier organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer, offering resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful.
 
Now help me celebrate ten years—support the YSC or pass my email on to a survivor: cgoldberg@handful.com
Today is a great day to be alive! FU Cancer! Cheers to ten years!
Cary
breast cancer cancerversary double mastectomy flat and fabulous FUcancer mastectomy pinktober SCAR Project Young Survival Coalition YSC

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