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Breast Cancer Series: Golden Girl Adventures
Breast Cancer Series: Golden Girl Adventures
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2012

(Photo credit: dvdsea.com)

As part of our commitment to spreading awareness and supporting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, we are featuring Breast Cancer Stories through the entire month of October. This story is from Melissa whose grandmother was passed away from Breast Cancer. Read below for her story and what she wants every other grandmother to know. 

My grandmother Lillian Pickelsimer was such a fun loving, young at heart woman. You never knew what she might do or what she might say.

She loved to dress up in costumes, dance on pool tables and generally cause excitement any place she could. The slogan "well behaved women rarely make history" fit her to a tee. I'm probably one of the few people around who have a picture of their grandma standing on a balconey in Hawaii, wearing  a bikini top and grass skirt!

As the eldest of 10 children she worked in the cotton fields of Texas to help make ends meet. Grandma didn't attended school so she never learned to read or write. This never stopped her from doing anything she really wanted to do and most people never new about her disability.

She lived her life to the fullest and would be what many would call  a "hoot".

My grandmother and I had a special bond. From an early age I would spend the night with her every Friday night where we would pop popcorn and watch the Golden Girl's. We would spend our Saturdays shopping or going on one of her wild adventures. I have memories of her driving me to Texas on road trips or spending the week at the lake fishing with her and grandpa.

Grandma died October 6, 1994 from Breast cancer that had spread to her liver and I miss her everyday.  While finding a cure is too late for Grandma it's so important for all the other grandmothers that may be lost from this terrible disease.

Every time I see those pink ribbons in October I think of grandma and how much I wish she were here. I love you grandma and I miss you very much.

Permission was granted by the writer of this blog to be posted on this site.  You can read more of Melissa's blog posts at  ConsumerQueen.com. 


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Survivor Series: Confidence is Beautiful
Survivor Series: Confidence is Beautiful
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2012

As part of our commitment to spreading awareness and supporting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, we are featuring Survivor Stories through the entire month of October. This story is from Josie, a teenager living in the US, whose grandmother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Read below for her story. 

Photo credit: WebMD.com

I was only three-years-old when one of my Grandmothers was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, but I don't really remember it much. Last year, however, my other grandma was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and I remember it vividly. My dad collected my siblings and the rest of my family into the living room with some “news” he needed to tell us. He said that his mom, my grandma, had Breast Cancer which was weird to me because I had just seen her two months before and she looked fine. That’s when I learned cancer wasn’t all about looks. Fortunately, my dad explained, the doctors had caught the cancer very only on and it had only invaded a few cells that could easily be removed through surgery.

My grandma lives on the other side of the country so my family doesn’t get to see her that often, usually once, sometimes twice a year. After she was diagnosed, I didn’t get to see her for almost a year. The details are hazy but she started going to Chemo and soon, all her hair was gone. I saw a picture of her from Christmas and she had a wig on. She didn’t look like the grandma I knew, but I told myself it was just a wig and she hadn’t changed at all. Her hair would be back in no time and she would be normal again. About two or three months later my dad stopped by to visit her during one of his business trips and said she wore a hat most of the time because her hair was so short. She didn’t let that stop her from looking beautiful and she started wear lots of gorgeous hats, they were all different styles and colors.

Even though she was practically bald, she still had confidence, she was always smiling a big smile and truly looked happy. I'm not sure how many girls, including me, could say they would be happy and confident if they had cancer, but my grandma didn’t let the disease stop her from looking lovely every day. She still put on her famous red lipstick and red nail polish, and still looked the same, except her hair of course.

This past summer when we went to visit her, her hair looked different than before. Before the cancer and the chemo, her hair was blond and straight, but now it was curly, and she had became a red head! I knew that cancer could make hair change, but it was still strange seeing my Grandma like that. The good thing is that now she's healthy and cancer free. Throughout this experience she has shown me that confidence is important, whether you have cancer or not. So every day when I wake up, I try and add a smile and lots of confidence. Because confidence is what completes your everyday look.

Permission was granted by the writer of this blog to be posted on this site. 


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Survivor Series: Diana Devlin
Survivor Series: Diana Devlin
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 05, 2012

As part of our commitment to spreading awareness and supporting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, we are featuring Survivor Stories through the entire month of October. This first story is from a very strong and brave woman, Diana Devlin, who survived not one, but two cancers! Read below for her story. 

I have always been a very healthy individual with absolutely no medical issues. In April of 2004 I felt a small lump in my right breast but it didn't seem out of the ordinary because I have fibrocystic breasts. I was due for my yearly checkup and I made an appointment to see my doctor in June 2004. Upon examining me, he didn't seem alarmed. He knew my history with lumpy breasts and said the lump was small, but still thought it best I see a surgeon so they could do a biopsy of the lump. When I phoned the surgeon's office, they wouldn't make the appointment because, as a freelancer for a skincare company, I had no insurance. They said to me "what will you do if it is something that requires surgery? How will you pay for it?" I became worried and started making phone calls to insurance companies. I was told by all of them, that if I had any pre-existing condition, any insurance I purchase would not cover any costs related to it. And since it was now in my medical records that a lump was found, if any bills were incurred to treat that lump, it would not be covered. I was scared, and I wasn't sure what to do next.  

So, at first, I did nothing. I let the rest of the summer go on as usual, but every night before falling asleep, I worried about the lump. I didn't know where to turn, but I knew I couldn't keep worrying. I finally decided I needed to go for a mammography, even if I had to pay for it myself. I scheduled the mammography in October. Seems fitting with all the Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns going on that month, right?

Even before the appointment, I had a gut feeling that I knew what the outcome was going to be. After the procedure the nurse returned with a concerned look on her face. She said they needed to do an ultrasound on one breast to get a better idea what the lump was consisted of, so they could determine if it was cancerous. She escorted me down to the ultrasound department, and by the time we arrived, I was crying and told her how I didn't have insurance and didn't know what I was going to do.  They did their best to console me and then proceeded to do the ultrasound. Little did I know, a guardian angel was watching over me while I had the ultrasound. 

A few hours later, after returning home, the nurse called me. Apparently there had been a surgeon at the hospital when I was having my tests done and the nurse had told her my story of being a freelancer with no insurance. It was at this point that my guardian angel was revealed. The surgeon, who turned out to be the kindest woman I've ever met in my life, insisted I call her office to schedule an appointment for a biopsy. It turned out to be the very surgeon I had tried to get an appointment with months earlier. We did the biopsy, and 2 days later, it was confirmed that I had Stage 1 breast cancer. When I panicked the surgeon told me about the Charity Care program, which helps individuals access affordable healthcare. With the guidance of my newfound angel, I was 100% approved for the program. 

Surgery to remove the tumor was scheduled as soon as possible, upon my request. The surgery went extremely well and the pathology report had a fantastic prognosis. It appears the tumor had not grown any larger from when my gynecologist had examined me 4 months earlier. In the months leading up to the diagnosis, I had a "feeling" that something was "wrong", yet I had no idea what it was. I began working out at the gym 5 days a week and had an extremely healthy diet, to help ease the irrational anxiety I was having. So I look back in retrospect, and wonder if the radical change I made to my health may have halted the cancer from growing/spreading. My only treatment after surgery was 7 weeks of daily radiation therapy.

Two months after completing my breast cancer radiation treatments, I began to "sense" something was wrong again. I tried fighting off the feeling, assuming it was just a normal feeling of worry that everyone goes through after they've completed treatment for cancer. When you're in the "fight" mode, going through treatments, you have a sense of control, you're actively fighting the cancer. But once you've completed treatments, you feel vulnerable.

By the end of the summer of 2005, I began having anxiety attacks. I made an appointment with my radiation oncologist and told him I thought there was cancer somewhere else in my body. I mentioned that a few months earlier I had seen blood in the toilet after I had gone to the bathroom. My father had colon cancer at the age of 62 and I was only 39 years old at this point. I told him I wanted to have a colonoscopy. I knew deep down in my heart that they were going to find something, despite not having any symptoms. When I awoke from the sedation, my fears were confirmed. My doctor found a tiny little growth. It was SO small that he put a tattoo of a black dot on either side of it so the next doctor would be able to find it. The pathology report came back and confirmed it was colorectal cancer.  

My surgeon who had done my breast surgery was truly shocked when she received the news. I was completely wrapped in fear, and honestly, filled with rage. I couldn't believe that someone as healthy as I was stricken with TWO cancers back-to-back. I felt like my body was betraying me! Surgery was scheduled immediately (9/16/05), and thankfully, went extremely well.

As of September 16, 2005, I have been cancer-free. There have been no recurrences or any new cancers cropping up. But I have to be very honest, I was really knocked for a loop when I got a 2nd diagnosis so soon after the first. I just celebrated being 7 years colon cancer free last month. I will be celebrating being breast cancer free this month on October 27th. Mine is definitely a success story, and a true testament of needing to listen to your body. One thing is for sure, I learned just how strong and resilient I really am. It's a true wonder that I made it through all of this.

The first couple of years were a very dark time for me. I'm still a work in progress and continuing to reinvent myself. Throughout these trials I've faced, I've become much more compassionate about life and I got involved with rescuing animals. I'm still very passionate about skincare and ingredients, and have become the skincare expert in my circle of friends and family. Sometimes you'll even find me advising total strangers in the skincare aisle about different moisturizers and cleansers! My boyfriend always chuckles when he sees that happen. Throughout this experience, I've continued to take very good care of myself and my skin, so despite treatments and surgery, none of it has shown in my outward, physical appearance. I still feel beautiful. And now, with all the tests and treatments I’ve been through, I know I’m just as beautiful on the outside as I am on the inside. 

Permission was granted by the writer of this blog to be posted on this site. 


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RECENT COMMENT "Thank you Uhhuh00123 for your kind words about my personal story xo xo..."


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Breast Cancer Awareness: Decrease Your Risk
Breast Cancer Awareness: Decrease Your Risk
MONDAY, OCTOBER 01, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's officially October! Which means it's officially Breast Cancer Awareness month. We already do our best to make you look even more beautiful with our cosmetic line, but this month we also want to help you protect that beauty! We'll be releasing several posts all month to educate our beloved Elfettes about which preventive measure to take and how to decrease your risk of developing breast cancer.

According to breastcancer.org, 1 in 8 women in the US will develop invasive Breast Cancer sometime in her lifetime. That's almost 12% of the female population! Let's try to knock that number down by taking these preventative steps: 

1.     Less Drinking:

A recent study showed that hormone-sensitive tumors (about 70% of tumors) were linked very strongly with the intake of alcohol. Consuming alcohol on a regular basis is believed to increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Many doctors recommend cutting the consumption of beer, wine and liquor to 2-3 drinks/week.  

 

2.     More Exercising

Not everyone loves the gym, but fortunately you can still get the benefits by performing 20 minutes of exercise at least 3 times a week. The more often the better! Make sure to keep your heart-rate above normal. The more vigorous the exercise the better. Yes, the kind that gets you really sweaty. The more you exercise, the stronger your heart will be, which helps cut your cancer risk.

3.     Weight control

Overweight and obese individuals have an increased risk of developing breast cancer, especially if the excess weight is put on as an adult. Overweight women also have a lower breast cancer survival rate than average weight women. Even if you’re not overweight, it’s a good idea for all women to develop and stick to a fitness plan. Plus, exercise and eating right makes you feel good!

There are a lot of free programs you can use to create and track your health and fitness progress. Here’s one of our favorites!

4.     Self Examine Regularly

Make a monthly reminder in your phone or on your calendar to perform a self breast examination every month. This app reminds you every month automatically! Here’s a great guide on how to do this yourself and you can always ask your doctor any questions about instructions and techniques. Don’t be alarmed if you find something, it may be nothing, but call your doctor anyway. Once you get use to the tissue in your breast, you’ll be able to tell if something is off. You may even detect a change before a mammogram find it.

 

 

5.     Visit the Doctor

Even if you hate going to the doctor, make it a habit, especially if you’re over the age of 40. Early detection of breast cancer is the closest thing to prevention so once you turn 40, schedule a mammogram every 1-2 years. The chances of beating breast cancer are much higher if it’s detected early on because, chances are, the tumor can still be removed if it’s small. The 5-year survival rate can be as high as 98% for the earliest-stage detection, but is only 27% once the disease has progressed to the advanced stage. If breast cancer runs in your family, you may want to think about going once you turn 35. Make it a point to discuss your prevention plan with doctor, no matter what age you are, it’s never too early to develop a plan.

What other preventative measures are you taking to decrease your risk of breast cancer?


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RECENT COMMENT "Thanks for the tips! will keep them in mind and god bless the cancer survivors and the ones still fi..."


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