T H R E E YEARS!

Today marks 3 years since I got the call confirming what I already knew… And what we all now know.

What I didn’t know at that time was- What would happen to the baby growing inside of me? What would my husband and 1 year old do if something happened to me? How would I choose to handle the news? And I definitely did not comprehend how dramatically my life and outlook on life would change.  

That call obviously shook my world and the world of my family and friends.  And I often wonder if baby Wyatt could feel it too.  But after speaking with my team of doctors, my first concern was addressed.  The baby in my belly would be perfect… and he is. Sometimes a perfect pain in the keister but still perfect.

And thankfully I am still here to witness the great father John is to our little humans. And I get to see Harlon growing up to be an amazing child. AND it turns out, I handled the diagnosis and what followed pretty OK.  Of course, I had and continue to have my shit days.  And my complete shit days.  And my “I’m never leaving my bed because life isn’t fair” shit days. But I try to keep a positive outlook as often as possible (while giving myself permission to throw the occasional pity party). And I remind myself that I get to choose if I walk around miserable and mean or if I want to choose to look at the positives and radiate joy.

This way of thinking is not for everyone, I get that.  And I have never tried to push my views on life onto anyone else.  I mean, we all get to walk our own paths.  But I remember reading a quote by another survivor right after I was diagnosed which said “Breast cancer can change you, but the change can be beautiful”.  I have tried to wholeheartedly embody that idea by looking for the beauty even when it seems to be pure shit surrounding me.

I know I don’t post very often about my story anymore.  But it’s not because I am “all better” or “over it”, but it’s because I am busy living this life I’ve been blessed with, spending my time with the people I love and who spark pure joy in my heart.  This disease has taught me what is important and what is not, where I want to focus my energy and where I can let go.  I am busy with my family, teaching yoga, supporting others who’ve been diagnosed, working on projects… all with the goal to leave the world better and more joyous than I found it and to be the light for others when the darkness tries to consume them.

Truthfully, anxiety still haunts me, as it always has.  And I’m not sure if I’ll ever get past the feeling of ‘running out of time’.  But life continues to be put into perspective and it’s nice to know we are all in this together…

So cheers to many, MANY, M A N Y more years to come!

Oncology Follow Up

Last week, when I got the call to schedule my oncology follow up, I was totally thrown off when they told me I would be seeing the Nurse Practitioner instead of my oncologist. I panicked… I stuttered… I asked if he was sure about three times. And finally left the conversation saying “Well, I guess this is a good sign… I’ve graduated… yeah?…”

The thing is, I just really love seeing my oncologist. She’s smart, confident, and knows how to talk me down when I start to totally lose my shit. Thankfully the NP was great too. She took the time to look over my chart before walking in and looked right at Wyatt, recognizing that he was the dude in my belly when I was diagnosed.

The overall appointment went well. The NP didn’t flinch when I told her I would not be getting reconstruction when asked. She was super cool with my kids being crazy people in the tiny exam room. She listened to my anxious word vomit when we discussed my consistently low white blood cell count…

Yeah, so that’s been a thing for the last several months. There is no answer as to why the counts are low. So I am being monitored for the next 4 months, getting blood tests every 4 weeks. If there is still no answer after all of these tests and follow ups, my future may hold a bone marrow biopsy which apparently hurts like hell. My oncologist did poke her head in during my appointment to say hi to the kids and I and did not seem too concerned but agrees to the nurse’s plan of monthly blood tests and followup.

Funny thing is I feel totally fine- other than not sleeping, which has been ongoing for nearly a year now. So I’m super interested to see what we find out.

As always, stay tuned for updates.

Until then, look below to see my kids on my ol’ stomping ground. No, not SDSU, not Tracy High. Good Old Kaiser. Those two are kinda a big deal….

Save the Women + HulaBelle Resortwear- Dana Dinerman

I met Dana Dinerman a couple of years back at a get together for her HulaBelle post mastectomy swimwear line. She is a young survivor, an entrepreneur, and an inspiration. This is just part of her story.

To learn more about Dana, you can revisit her 2018 October Project Interview here.

What are the main obstacles that stand between you and your mission, and what ways do you find to overcome them?

The main obstacles that stand between me and my mission is my cancer returning. The past few years I have been in a constant battle with the cancer returning after having endured treatments for months on end. I tend to grow tired, side effects can be tough and not to mention I am a mom first, so whatever energy I do have in reserves goes toward caring for my child. I do have a plan for what I would like to achieve when it comes to helping others but my health can be an issue.

What are your go-to acts of self care?

I believe cancer has taught me so much about pacing myself and learning how to say no. If I feel as if I am going to be affected negatively physically by something, I will take a time out. I will make myself sit down and perhaps take a nap or I will reorganize my day better and put the items that can wait to another time. I also believe in pampering oneself, getting massages, taking long baths, napping. It all helps. I never used to feel like it was ok to take care of oneself before I was diagnosed with cancer and now I know it is quite important.

If you could share any piece of advice for someone who has been diagnosed, what would it be?

I always tell people two things, be your own advocate and take it one day at time. We are diagnosed with our minds still in the former lifestyle of needing to solve everything now and needing answers today. I tell people this is a marathon, pace yourself. Also, if something doesn’t feel right, then being your own advocate is crucial. It is ok to question your doctor and do your own research. It is ok to ask for a second opinion, you are not stepping on anyone here, this is your life your wellbeing.

What are the latest happenings with your programs right now?

I am currently working on a publication to help women share their stories and to mix it with fashion. It will be a publication similar to what you might see in our current fashion magazines yet the models will be real women, sharing their stories. They will be dressed in beautiful designs, highlighting designers and photographers as well. The idea came to me awhile ago and I feel it is very much needed in our community. I am not only going to focus on breast cancer, but also other ailments or conditions that may affect a woman in her everyday life.

How can we help?

I am right now needing volunteers to help with a publication to be launched end of summer. It is to help highlight women who have been through a traumatic moment in their lives such as cancer. I have decided to combine fashion and their stories together to create a publication similar to what you might see in the stores, yet the models will be these women. I need designers, hair and make up artists, photographers and anyone who thinks they might be able to help to volunteer their time. I will be sure to include all names of those who have helped in the publication when it is launched. This will either be a one time only project or if it is well received it may go on to a monthly subscription.

How can we contact you?

Instagram: @save_the_women & @hulabelleresortwear