Category Archives: Write Pink!

Write Pink! Support {Love}: The Core of Healing, Megan’s Story

We’re focusing on breast cancer support for Write Pink! this week.

Each day, a guest writer will be posting about ways we can help support the people that are fighting breast cancer and the organizations that are trying to beat it.

On Thursday, you are welcome and encouraged to link up your Bigger Picture Moment about breast cancer support. {Blog or Facebook notes both work!}. By linking up, you will automatically be entered to win a gift certificate to {So} Sartina.

By commenting on any one of the support posts (at the host’s site), you will automatically be entered into a drawing to win an apron (the better for making meals or bakes sales with!) from It’s All in the Bag.

Today’s post is about supporting access and care for all by Megan:
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“God truly does give us everything we need, especially the gift of each other, and I needed you! You are at the core of my healing!”

My good friend Meagan delivered these words to over 150 women and girls as part of the moving story of her victory over cancer, a story she shared at a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation on April 25, 2010. Seven months earlier, Meagan had been diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer.

As Write Pink’s focus shifts from breast cancer prevention to giving and receiving support as women are diagnosed and treated, I’m here to tell you what happened in the months between.

I’ll never forget first hearing about Meagan’s diagnosis in September 2009. We were standing on my driveway on a beautiful early fall afternoon and my neighbor, Katie, with tears in her eyes, shared the news with me and two other girls in our Bunco group. I also vividly remember my immediate reaction of knee-buckling fear and sadness as the news soaked in, and how I wondered, What on earth will I say to Meagan? What can I do? How must she feel and how can I possibly do ANYTHING to make her feel better? Because I couldn’t imagine myself hearing the words she’d just heard from her doctor, nor could I come up with anything that’d make me feel better in the same situation. I don’t think you can ever be prepared to hear such news, do you? But even in that state of horrible grief and uncertainty, we all knew, the four of us on that driveway, and a dozen more of Meagan’s friends and neighbors, that we would not let Meagan go through a single moment of what lay ahead without us. We would be there with her, every step of the way, in whatever capacity she needed us.

Meagan would have the support {love} – the collective energy, spirit, and soul – of this small but mighty army of determined women to rely on until we all stood together with her at the end to celebrate her healing.

Everyday/Every Way Support

We organized ourselves by creating a Care Calendar for Meagan and her family. Through this service, we were all able to see and volunteer for daily meal preparation for Meagan and her husband and two kids, for weekly delivery of fresh flowers, for visits with Meagan and help taking her to doctor’s appointments. This calendar provided all of us with a clear view of what needed to be done and who was getting it done. For six months, Meagan had dinner delivered just in time for her family’s evening meal, and she never went a week without a bouquet of seasonal blooms to cheer her up. She had access to the calendar as well – visible proof that we were with her, every step of the way.

Financial Support

Medical bills pile up fast for cancer patients, even those with excellent medical coverage. The last thing a family struggling with the day to day emotions and worries of illness and chemo/radiation needs is to wonder if they’ll have enough money left after paying those unexpected bills to cover the mortgage or the car note or life’s other basic necessities. Together with members of Meagan’s church, we raised money and presented her family with a substantial check in November so the holiday season could be a time of togetherness and joy, not of anxiety and stress. All it took to raise money was a blanket email to a large list we compiled of people who knew and loved this family. The checks began coming in the very next day.

Moral Support

To show Meagan we HATED cancer and were determined to be part of ending it for good, 14 of us joined together as Team Cure or Bust and committed to walk in the Chicago 3-Day for the Cure in August of this year. As we continued to support Meagan and her family individually, we also began raising funds for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and training to walk 60 miles in 3 days. This work blessed us all with a feeling that we were taking charge and making a difference in women’s lives for many generations, in honor of our Meagan and several other friends and family members who had, or would, battle the disease. Meagan attended many of our team meetings as we planned our fund raising events and she cheered us on with enthusiasm as we hit the pavement day in and day out to get our bodies ready for the walk. By the weekend of the 3-Day, we had raised $50,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and were the top local-only fundraising team for the city of Chicago. Best of all, though, is that by August, Meagan was 100% cancer free and healthy and she stunned and delighted us all just a few days before the 3-Day by announcing she was joining Team Cure or Bust. Our amazing friend walked every one of those 60 miles by our sides in the hot summer sun.

Photobucket
Meagan, Opening Ceremonies, Chicago 3-Day for the Cure, August 7, 2010

Continued Support

As any serious illness or injury does, breast cancer leaves an indelible mark on its victims, even when they do triumph and survive. We know that as Meagan LIVES, and lives to the fullest, post-cancer (she was declared CANCER FREE on April 1, 2010, and we were all there with her to celebrate, just as we said we would be), she may continue at times to struggle with fear and doubt and sadness. We all consider ourselves so deeply blessed to have the chance to be an on-going source of emotional support for Meagan, and we continue to watch out for and listen to her and be ready and available to help lift her spirits or just offer her a shoulder on which she can lean.

Meagan continues to thrive post-cancer and just returned from walking with friends and family in the Race for the Cure in Arizona this past weekend. Every time I see her, she reminds me of how this group of women helped save her and taught her so many amazing lessons about love and life. What we did was so simple and so natural, born of our love for our friend, but has made an lasting, life-giving impact on Meagan, on each of us and on the whole world.

Megan Cobb also blogs at FriedOkra.

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Write Pink! Week 2 Recap



We are halfway through our month of Write Pink! Have you joined in yet? What are you waiting for?  You do! Your stories and thoughts matter please share them with us!

Don’t forget, all month we are encouraging you to join Army of Women and help them reach 1 Million! Still unsure about it? Head over to Elizabeth’s and read her mom’s story. She is part of the Army and tells you about the study she participated in. Also, don’t forget to forward your confirmation e-mail to Melissa for a chance to win a special edition Lil Blue Boo tee! (moredetails/rules here)

We know this is  heavy stuff and not the normal, maybe more fun stories of life with kids, it may bring up feelings of fear or avoidance. That’s why we have incentives, giveaways, rewards.


All comments on Prevention week posts will be entered for a chance to win:

On any size shirt from Pigtail Pals
You have until I tally the comments on Thursday 27 October, Let’s say 8:00pm (follow me on twitter and I will tweet when I start)



You also have until Wednesday to link up your Bigger Picture Moment on Prevention. When you link up you are entered for a chance to win:

Win these beautiful glass drinking straws from Strawesome for linking your Bigger Picture Moment!
A set of glass drinking straws from Strawesome  

Be sure to stop by and read all the Prevention posts this week (and leave a comment!)
This week we will be focusing on Support and Melissa will be hosting it so be sure to visit!

Write Pink! Prevention, Hyacynth’s Story

Welcome to Write Pink! From the Head, Heart and Feet: Prevention Week. This week we’re focusing on the action part {hence, feet} of breast cancer awareness — what we can all do to lesson our chances of developing breast cancer.

I’m no breast-cancer expert.

But I am a worrier by nature and a journalist by education, {which is like the perfect storm for hours of endless reading in quests for the truth}, so I pay attention to the facts, the research and the studies.

And though I no longer pen for a newspaper, I find being an avid reasearcher is pretty much my job, both as a mother and wife and a Curves owner.

Because I deal with prevention daily {for many, many diseases including but not limited to breast cancer} in each of those roles, I’m constantly picking apart information.

In my reading, there’s a major point that has resurfaced in many studies, and that’s the integeral role elevated estrogen levels play in breast cancer.

Let me dissect it very briefly.

Increased estrogen levels have been linked to breast-cancer development.

So common sense tells us we should consciously try to maintain natural estrogen levels.

But in order to do so, we must know what increases those levels in the first place.

First and foremost, being overweight increases estrogen in the body because our fat tissues releases estrogen.

Right there, we put ourselves at greater risk for devloping not only breast cancer but myriad other diseases.

{Rose will be writing on diet and exercise specifics tomorrow, so be sure to check out her prevention piece.}

After lowering body fat through proper nutrition and exercise, I’ve focused {as a Curves owner and mother and wife} on three things to help maintain proper estrogen levels.

1. If you choose to have babies, choose to breastfeed

From The National Cancer Institute study:

CONCLUSIONS: Women with deleterious BRCA1 mutations who breast-fed for a
cumulative total of more than 1 year had a statistically significantly
reduced risk of breast cancer.

That’s encouraging news. It was so encouraging that way back when our first-born was a small baby, I made it my personal goal to nurse however many kiddos we have for a grand total of seven years because my lactation consultant had shared research that concluded mothers who nursed for seven years had about 1 percent chance of developing breast cancer.

Since I like nursing and the health benefits extend beyond just decreased risk of breast cancer, I thought it would be fun to shoot for the full seven. {Yes, my definition of the word fun here is questionable.}

A 2010 case-controlled study of Sri Lankan mothers found great benefits for breastfeeding mothers in relation to not developing breast cancer:

In conclusion, our study observed a significant inverse
association between both lifetime duration of breastfeeding and average duration per child and risk of breast carcinoma. The findings were supported by dose–response
relationship, with increasing duration of breastfeeding the risk of cancer risk is reduced.

Let me break it down: Mothers who nursed babies for 36-47 months had a 94 percent risk reduction for developing breast cancer.

Nurse on, Baby E., nurse on.

2. Avoid plastics.

About two months ago, I purged about 90 percent of the plasticware in our kitchen — and it only too four years of consciously thinking about reducing our plastic exposure.

I’d read yet another study about the link between plastics and increased estrogen levels just before I went to unload the dishwasher. After I’d collected the plastic containers from the top rack, I opened the cabinet only to have plastic lids and containers pelt my head and arms.

And that was the day the music died, so to speak, and about 90 percent of the plastic went straight to the recycling bin.

I’ll admit. This is controversial. But the research makes sense.

From cancer.org:

A great deal of research has been reported and more is being done to understand possible environmental influences on breast cancer risk.

Of special interest are compounds in the environment that have been found in lab
studies to have estrogen-like properties, which could in theory affect
breast cancer risk. For example, substances found in some plastics, certain
cosmetics and personal care products, pesticides (such as DDE), and PCBs
(polychlorinated biphenyls) seem to have such properties.

I very clearly see a link. So we avoid plastics when possible by adhering to a few simple practices:

1. Use paper bags or canvas at the store
2. Use glass containers for food storage
3. Use food-grade stainless steel water bottles or regular glasses
4. Use glass alternatives to plastic, like what’s featured as today’s giveaway, the Strawesome straws
5. Choose raw materials whenever possible in leiu of plastics (example: wool diaper covers, cloth table covers, wooden blocks, wooden shelves for storage}

Seems overwhelming?

Pick one, and then slowly increase as it feels natural.

3. Use non-hormonal birth control methods

If we’re trying to maintain perfect estrogen composition, it only makes sense to eliminate additional doses of estrogen.

My doctor feels so strongly against using synthetic hormones as birth control, he won’t even prescribe birth control pills.

I won’t go into huge detail, but I will say a few things:

1. The pill made me feel crazy kinds of hormonal {hello, extra estrogen!}.
2. Birth control pills contain estrogen.
3. Diaphrams are effective and easy to use.
4. Our second child was planned {we had been using a diaphragm as birth control before we consciously made the choice to try for number two}

Draw your own conclusions about safe and effective birth control.

You don’t have to be a breast-cancer expert to take reduce your risks of developing breast cancer.

But you do have to look at the research, the links and then take preventative measures, like some of the aforementioned suggestions and methods that have been shared this week.

Link up your Bigger Picture Moment about breast cancer prevention through Wednesday, Oct. 20. {Blog or Facebook notes both work!}

By linking up, you will automatically be entered to win a set of four special edition glass straws from Strawesome {cut down on your plastic exposure!}. A winner will be chosen by random.org.

By commenting on any one of the prevention posts, includingMonday’sTuesday’s or Wednesday’s, you will automatically be entered into a drawing to win Breast Cancer Scientist T shirt {adult or child-sized} from Pigtail Pals.

Reading prevention week articles is a step in the right direction. Now let’s use those feet. What’s the next step you’ll take in prevention? What wheels are turning in your head about ways you could decrease your risk of developing breast cancer?