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!

 

One year ago today I took my last dose of chemo. I bid farewell to cancer and started to move forward….

Or so I thought I did….

I never imagined after that day would be months of tears, days of sadness, hopelessness and fear. I never imagined that I would wish my cancer to come back. I could have never dreamt to be so afraid of the future, but I was. Cancer had become my reality. My appointments became my safety net. And when someone told me to go and live I felt paralyzed. I longed for cancer to return so that I could feel safe again. The world being cancer free overwhelmed me.

I didn’t know how to process it, discuss it or grieve it…

Over the last year, with a lot of patience, a lot of prayer, a lot of friends, a lot of family, counseling and some medicine I am so proud to be where I am today. I am proud to say it feels so good to be Living.

To be doing life.

May today meet you where you are at. May you have the patience to accept the story you never wanted and start living in the middle of it. Celebrate those near, honor those who have passed and be so proud of yourself. They say that life is a gift. What an honor it is to be given more days.

Thank you for celebrating with me. Happy One Year of being CANCER FREE.

 

“Therefore the Lord waits [expectantly] and longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed (happy, fortunate) are all those who long for Him [since He will never fail them].” – Isaiah 30:18

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I have almost completed two months of taking Tamoxifen (again) and am still feeling very well. I cannot tell you what a blessing that is to say. Besides the occasional sweating and hot flashes I am tolerating the medicine much better this time around. My hope is to remain on Tamoxifen for the next five years to lower my risk of reaccurance from 25% to 15%. Thank you for praying and thinking of me. I am very grateful and while many have asked that I write more often I must say I am grateful I have little to share these days.

I have been busy living and reflecting on my cancer journey no longer holds the place that it did before.

My hope for you is that whatever circumstance you find yourself in today, may you one day be able to look back and smile knowing you made it through. Because I smile a lot more today than I did this time last year.

Today I am tired from staying up too late, eating lots of yummy food, sore from my Monday workout and have a slight headache from the headband I am wearing. Yep you read that right a headband. I have enough hair to pull it back. (perhaps if I tried maybe a small ponytail). All of these things were things I could have never celebrated last year.

Next Month, March 19, 2016 I will celebrate 1 year of being Cancer Free and my last day of chemo! I am very much looking forward to that.

And to now leave you with something funny, I realized that I never shared my wig pictures from the day my mom and I went shopping for one, and thought it might make you smile! Enjoy!

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