As many of you know my interview about online dating and breast cancer took place with Glamour Magazine and was published in the October issue released this month. I really appreciate all of you who have gone out of your way to purchase and read the article.

In preparation for an interview that is scheduled tomorrow, I spent some time reflecting on my entire story. The most logical thing to do first was to look back at pictures. Makes sense right?

But a strange thing occurred to me as I looked at the photos of my cancer journey…

The photos only tell half the story…

  • They don’t capture the night I was up all night sweating and dealing with insomnia.
  • Or the night I realized it was snowing outside and I stood outside until the night sweats disappeared.
  • They don’t show the evening I ran to my room while my roommates hosted a dinner party and I crawled down on the floor and cried over how much it all hurt.
  • They don’t show you when my parents and I parked the car in an empty parking lot because we had no idea what to do after we had just heard the most devastating of news.
  • They don’t show my head laying on my desk in my cubicle at work as I cried myself through the work day hoping nobody would hear.
  • They don’t show when I laughed at my friends as they painted my nails for me while I was drugged on medicine.
  • Or when I showered for the first time after surgery. Closing my eyes under the water as my drains were held up by a necklace around my neck.
  • There are no photos of the shots I got after each round of chemo, or the visits to the cancer center where I was sat reflecting by myself.
  • Or when my company surprised me during our staff meeting with several thousand dollars and I cried (big tears) in gratitude
  • They have never shown the change in my heart either….
  • Photos don’t capture the devastation on my face as I learned that I only retrieved four eggs when I went to harvest my eggs.
  • They don’t show the countless remedies I tried to minimize my scars (Nerium, oil, scar tape etc.)
  • The bottles of wine I drank in hopes I would feel something different.
  • The time I stood at my grandmother’s funeral bald and all donations were given in my name to Komen.
  • Or the time I took a spin class bald as a cancer patient could be determined to prove my own body wrong.
  • Or the times I cried myself to sleep.
  • Or the hundreds of people that walked through my front door on any given day to bring food, take me on a walk, bring me flowers or simply say hello.

I am not saying this becuase I wish I had photos of these moments becauase honestly they would probably be hard to look at…. The only thing I wish for is to tell the whole story. Grief, devastation and heartbreak are very real emotions that should be granted the same permission as those moments that recieve the limelight and the photos. Let’s be honest some of my most tender moments in my life are the ones that have been full of tears.

May all the moments even those not captured in photos be the most precious of memories that mold you more in the person you are to become. I so believe this to be true.

Below are some photos that I never shared….

 

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Many of you read a while back that I took up the game of golf. You might be thinking why in the world would you do that? Trust me I sometimes ask myself that too. But my only answer is

It is something I have always said I wanted to do.

It was an idea… planted in my heart, that was a gift after cancer… What happens if there is no time to do the things I want? What if this is it? So I quickly began to imagine all the things I have always wanted to do. Some may call this a bucket list but I wanted to look at more simply. What things in my every day have I always wanted to do? This is where my brain began to compile things……

The first on my list was to learn to play golf. So guess what I did ? I signed up for golf lessons. I smile each time I step on the tee box… then of course focus. I accomplished something I had always wanted to do. I wanted to play golf with my dad and  over Fourth of July I got to do that. Since I started in May, I have played nearly once a week and continue to see improvement. I bought new golf shoes and remember my very first Par. As many of you golfers may know it is one of the most challenging of games, but somehow it keeps me coming back for more. Here is to a lot more fairways hit straight and perfect puts. Oh and I am now on the committee for the 2017 Indian Tree Golf Club Rally for the Cure. (golf and raising money for breast cancer patients). Count me in!

The next thing on my list was to get in my community more. I was unsure how this would play out but it was to simply be open to more opportunities to pour into the community in which I live. Whether that be by being a good neighbor, serving at the Denver Rescue Mission or opening my eyes to see others in need. I must say this has been the most rewarding of all. I look forward to more ways this becomes a reality in my every day.

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming”…. Those are the words I repeat in my head each time I get in the pool. I have always wanted to be on a “Masters Team”. Masters team, simply means adult swim team. I have wanted this so much that a few years ago I researched all the teams in Denver, attended practice of one and felt intimidated.  Flash forward to a few weeks ago when a friend from the gym urged me to come to the masters practice. She and her husband promised that I would have a good time and despite my pride feeling crushed because I would be slow… that I needed to start somewhere. So I showed up. I have now officially joined the swim team and learned to swallow that pride. I even have a new friend (she is 63 years old) that I try and keep up with. Trust me she is good. In due time I tell myself in due time.

The last thing I will mention was my desire to get into a women’s bible study. The hardest, scariest of all of the above. It demands me to be vulnerable. It requires commitment and it could mean a lot of truth telling. Well I guess I got what I bargained for and some more. This summer I completed my first full bible study (meaning book cover to cover) ever. Trust me I have been in my fair share of bible studies, but always seemed to find an excuse, not enough time for homework and simply half assed it (whoops talking about bible study). I am a work in progress but aren’t we all.

I share all of these things only to ask you one question….

What have you always wanted to do? 

Learn to cook, get up early, call that friend, see that movie, bake that pie, invite them over, learn that sport…. oh the possibilities but seriously….

What have you always wanted to do?

 

 

This post is a catch up on my busy summer of breast cancer events. As some of you may have seen I have the privilege of being selected as one of the 100 Ford Motor Company Models of Courage for this year. While I was unsure what this would entail and what this would mean, I have been quickly thrust into the world of Breast Cancer Survivorship as a result.

Shortly following our opening retreat,  one other Model of Courage, Jenny, and I were asked by Ford Motor Company to accompany them on a PR trip to New York City. As you can imagine I was thrilled and honored. In a three day trip, we met with six different Magazine Publications; Women’s Day, Parents, Good Housekeeping, Health, Marie Claire and Glamour. Crazy? Right?

The meetings were all very similar….. we met for about an hour, had the opportunity to share about the Ford Warriors in Pink Program and my story. Depending on the magazines target audience we would highlight different portions of our breast cancer journey that were relevant. The point of this you might wonder, is to get the Ford Warrior in Pink Program featured either online or in magazine print. All of the meetings took place in different parts of Manhattan at the specific magazine headquarters. My personal favorite was Marie Claire. Not only did we meet with one of the editors but she let me view the famous “Wardrobe Closet”. Think Devil Wears Prada…. a room full of Fall and Winters latest designs, shoes, purses etc. It was just like the movie and a dream!

The entire trip was exhuasting and good in so many ways. I have been contacted by two of the publications for more details  about my breast cancer experience so they can write their stories. Health Magazine completed their article and you can view it here. Last Friday, I was interviewed by an editor at Glamour for an article that they intend to run in Octobers issue of the Magazine. As soon as it is published I will share! The hope is that the additional publications will be writing or doing something … we will just have to wait and see.

Just last week I was honored to join Living Beyond Breast Cancer for Breast Cancer 360: Love, Sex and Relationships Body Acceptance after Diagnosis. Although I was a little nervous I sat alongside other survivors and physicians to share how we have learned to embrace, accept and at times hate our bodies post cancer. The discussion also shared about how to discuss your cancer while dating and some very honest side affects that affect intimacy. You can view the full panel discussion here!  This is the most open and honest I have been in public, not only about dating and intimacy but about my eating disorder past. I am so grateful for the Eating Disorder Center of Denver, that almost three years I came forward to my family and asked for help and my physician. If anyone you know or you are struggling I am more than happy to share with you how I have found freedom and that I believe you can too.

All of these experiences gave me the tremendous honor of sharing and being amongst other survivors which I found very encouraging.

Below are some photos I took in NYC and from last week! Hope you enjoy!

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Photos below are from the Living Beyond Breast Cancer event and the gathering afterwards!

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This past weekend I had the honor of standing alongside 14 other women to celebrate, cry and laugh about our breast cancer stories. The 15 of us were selected to be the 2016 Ford Models of Courage Denver.

“This year, Ford Warriors in Pink is showing its dedication to everyone touched by breast cancer by creating an army of warriors in select cities across the country. They’re called Models of Courage (MOCs). And they are patients, survivors, thrivers and co-survivors ready to help us empower those currently in the fight.  Not only will our MOCs help raise awareness and funds for the cause, they’ll also help bring good days to those in the breast cancer community. Since bad days are all too common for patients, survivors and caregivers alike, it’s more important than ever to create better ones. And the more MOCs we bring together, the more good days we can give.

We spent the weekend at the Ritz Carlton, connecting, laughing, drinking wine and sharing about how we as a collective group of survivors can give more good days to others battling breast cancer. As you could have guessed I was the youngest in the group by 14 years. I will be honest I was not sure how the weekend would go, would I feel out of place? Would I feel like my story was so different compared to theirs?

Lucky for me I was wrong.

After a weekend spending time with each of them, I learned that breast cancer is the great equalizer. All of sudden sitting amongst women who could be my mother or grandmother we shared one common theme. We fought the same fight. We all had breast cancer and in turn we became different women.

I am not sure why I was so surprised by this but we cry over so many of the same things. We break out into sweats. We start undressing as the next hot flash occurs. We struggle with talking about it or sometimes talking too much about it. We discuss our scars, our nipple-less breasts, how we lost our hair, how we shaved it when we did and what we are most afraid of in the future. I was so honored to laugh, cry and share with them. But most of all grateful for how they accepted me as a friend. As a fellow survivor.

I look forward to sharing more of what our year will look like as we seek to educate, encourage and support the fight against Breast Cancer through Ford Motor Company’s Warriors in Pink. I did ask for a Pink Mustang 🙂 sadly that is not one of the perks.

My encouragement to you is never let age keep you from connecting with others around you. Accept age as a number and seek to connect with those younger and older. You never know what you could give to someone else? You never may know how much you have in common? Step out and be comfortable with the uncomfortable. These women, while yes for many of them I could be their daughter……  are now a new circle of friends and I am grateful.

For more information on Ford Warriors in Pink and how you can get involved click here: www.warriorsinpink.ford.com

See some of my favorite pictures from the weekend below!