June 6, 2014

My Year of Breast Cancer

At this time last year, I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Can you believe it’s been a year already?  A year.

I found this old picture the other day.  It was taken after our first visit with the oncologist – the one where we learned that the mastectomy wasn’t enough; I needed chemo.

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I’m not sure why we snapped it (probably for the blog – such an odd thing to do I suppose) but I love the look on my face.  It so clearly captures the WTF of my life.

As I plodded along this past year, recovering from one surgery, then another, from one chemo treatment to the next, until there was no recovering anymore, just a vague sort of blur, of simply existing…I often focused my energies on this point:  one year out.  “Imagine the difference a year will make” people said.  And I would.  I’d dream about it, actually.  Long for it.

I had expected? hoped? that one year later I would be healthy (check), but that I’d also have some answers.  Life answers, big stuff solved.  This is where wisdom comes from, right?  Traumatic, life-changing events?  I feel like I’ve earned a few nuggets of wisdom. I imagined, on my one year cancer anniversary, that I’d sit down and write something profound.

I got nothing.

Instead, if I’m completely honest here, I’m left with this overwhelming feeling of bewilderment, major memory gaps from the last year, and an over-active imagination that turns every runny nose into chemo recovery – complete with imagined symptoms (that feel very real).  You should see the level of drama I’m now capable of over a cold.

Like seriously, who am I and WTF just happened?

My one-year cancer anniversary (Cancerversary?) corresponded with my 6 month post-chemo checkup.  And no worries – all is well.  I’ve become one of the most uninteresting patients at Penn Medicine.  Yay for boring!

But it was surreal, heading to that appointment.  Just like all of my other doctor appointments throughout the year, this one was during the day, Mike showed up, and we walked into that beautiful, awful building at Penn Medicine that we know all too well.  After the appointment, we stuck with our tradition of going out for a drink.   Or two.

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There are a few things I’ve learned while fighting breast cancer, I suppose.

1.  Doctor’s appointments = date nights.  Make it happen.

2.  If you are going to get a breast lump checked out, think PANTS.  NOT DRESSES.  Otherwise you could find yourself clad in only high heels and a thong while clinging to metal bars high above your head as two icy metal plates squash your boobs flat in a room with the same variable temperatures as Antarctica.

3. It’s normal to think your doctors are making this shit up just to f*ck with you.

4. Flirtatiously asking the “Chief Breast Imaging Specialist” if his title is really “Chief Breast Inspector” because that’s all you can read in the folds of his lab coat while he positions the world’s longest biopsy needle above your breast is really not funny, apparently, to anyone else but you.

5. Recovering from a mastectomy is NOT like recovering from a c-section.  Like, AT ALL.

6. Losing eyebrows and eyelashes is worse than losing hair.

7.  If you are going to use this Brian Joseph Lash and Brow Gel to keep your eyebrows through chemo, be sure to follow the instructions exactly and use it for THE FULL 60 DAYS POST-CHEMO.  Otherwise, they’ll fall out within a few days.  Trust me on this.

8. It’s OK to start hating the color pink with a surprising passion.

9. If you are out and about wearing a head-scarf, you will be like an invisible person.  Even if you otherwise look healthy and happy and are wearing lipstick and a cute outfit, no one will look at you because you are a BUMMER.  So ditch the wig on days you need to do errands without interruptions.

10. It’s OK to not feel strong.  Strength has absolutely nothing to do with it.

11. It’s OK to be annoyed when everyone tells you how strong you are.  They obviously haven’t witnessed your tearful ‘why me’ Dynasty moments while you gazed at your bruised, bandaged, alien reflection.

12.  It’s OK if your reflection makes you cry.  It won’t always be the case.  Promise.

13. Even if your pre-cancer life was all organic, paraben-free, hippy-happiness, it’s OK if you want to throttle those who suggest that vitamin C could take the place of chemo.  I’m PRETTY SURE that if Vitamin C ACTUALLY WORKED, doctors WOULD USE IT.

14.  It’s normal to start seeing “signs” of your impending death.  As a wise woman once told me, you can’t believe everything you think.

15.  It’s normal to want to see pictures of other’s massacred, post-mastectomy boobs.  And it’s OK to think of these things dramatically, using terms like “massacred”.

On that note…I have a slideshow from the last year.  It’s a tad self-indulgent, made primarily for myself as a way of…lessening my bewilderment, I guess.  Of providing closure, if I want to be cliche.  But here’s the thing:  there are a couple of pictures of my post-mastectomy boobs.  Not pretty.  Consider yourself warned.

Why did I include those pics?

Not only are they so. totally. part of this story….I remember, a year ago, being frustrated at the lack of imagery of the in-between state.  Plastic surgeon’s offices have entire books with pictures of completed breast reconstruction (and the nipple tattoos are amazing)…but no one had pictures immediately following a mastectomy.  I was frightened by what I would see, what I would have to live with for a few months until my reconstructive surgery.  Sometimes the knowing – even if it isn’t pretty – is better than the unknown.  (And I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the awesome Mama who emailed me pics of her post-mastectomy self one year ago.)  And all things considered….it’s actually not that bad.

Here’s a little peek into my year of breast cancer.

 

 

I have no words to properly express our gratitude for all of the love and support this family has received over the last year.  We are humbled, grateful, and so very blessed.  Thank you for being a part of our journey.  Thank you for helping me fight like a girl.

xo,

S

 

 

 

By June 6, 2014 134 No tags Permalink
134 Comments
  • Janice
    June 6, 2014

    That was beautiful, as are you. Hugs and love from CT.

  • Rebecca
    June 6, 2014

    Thank you…just…thank you.

  • Stacy
    June 6, 2014

    Great post, Shana, and some of those are just so darn true. If only someone as cool as you had been in the chemo chair next to me! My first “cancerversary” is in August. I was just telling hubby today that I am dreading it.
    Big hugs to you. Reading your posts has helped me more than you know!

  • Dede
    June 6, 2014

    Beautiful. Simply beautiful. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Anne Zarkos
    June 6, 2014

    Beautiful 🙂 God bless you guys.

  • Bobbi
    June 6, 2014

    Your amazing! Thank you for sharing your fight!!! As an oncology nurse I see it first hand and know you are strong, brave, and amazing!!! May god bless the rest of your journey! Aka your life! This made me cry btw! 😉 <3

  • LIsa
    June 6, 2014

    You are one FIERCE mama. I’m proud to follow you. xo

  • Sadie
    June 6, 2014

    Shana – you are something. Cancer has hit my family hard. Like, really hard. So far, to date, I’ve lost 3 aunts, 1 grandma and 1 great grandma all to Breast Cancer…all on my mom’s side of the family. My mom, and two of her other sisters both tested positive for the BRCA gene and have both undergone preventative mastectomies and hysterectomies to try and stay cancer free. My mom’s brother is currently fighting prostate cancer and is going through 50 rounds of radiation as we speak. Its like, somewhere, deep down inside of me, I know that this cancer is my future as well. It brings me to tears thinking of it, and though I’ve tested negative (the first in our family!) for the BRCA gene, I just don’t trust it. For the last 5 years every spring we hear of another family member on mom’s side with cancer. EVERY. SINGLE. SPRING.
    I’ve got a little two year old and I wonder when it comes my time, if I’ll be as strong as you and those have come before me. I often feel like a ticking time bomb. Thank you for sharing…

  • beth
    June 6, 2014

    Incredible.

  • tara
    June 6, 2014

    Oof. This post made me cry. A lot. Tomorrow is the day I lost my mom, 13 years ago. I was 15. I hate cancer with a passion. I’m SO HAPPY to get to read about an amazing mom’s story, beating cancer. TAKE THAT, CANCER! Thank you for sharing your words and pictures. And you are brave, even if you do have those days when you feel like you aren’t. 🙂

  • cora
    June 6, 2014

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and this past year and for sharing your beautiful photos.

  • belinda
    June 6, 2014

    wow…my eyes are still leaking….beautiful my friend..(although we have never met:)
    xoxox

  • Alyssa
    June 6, 2014

    So, so beautiful , Shana. Sending love to my mom-idol.

  • Sarah D.
    June 6, 2014

    Really wonderful post (brought me to tears). Thank you for sharing your journey. And congrats!

  • Audrey
    June 6, 2014

    You may not like the word “strong”, but you should like the word “brave” … because it’s what you are – in so very many ways.

  • Amanda
    June 6, 2014

    Honestly I am so proud of you. You have weathered such a hard time in your life and yes, it has left scars but you have done so with grace. I know you don’t feel strong but the thing is you did what needed to be done, you continued to do the things that mattered to you (and others), and I know other women will really appreciate all of your posts and insights from that painful time.

  • Jamie
    June 6, 2014

    Love your list, and really love that video. If I had one regret from my year of breast cancer, it’s that I don’t have more pictures. (though I’ve got bunches!) We didn’t do everything the same, yet I identify with nearly every stage and lesson learned. Thank you for sharing. I hate that someone else has been through what I have, yet find it so reassuring that the things I feel are the same things others walking the same path feel.

  • Lindsay Pappas
    June 6, 2014

    I’m all misty. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. God Bless you!

  • Terri
    June 6, 2014

    Indulgent, Schmulgent. I’ve been wanting to see your boobs for years and finally, FINALLY, the day has come! xoxo.

  • Erin@clevergirlreviews.com
    June 6, 2014

    Beautiful. I’ve been taking care of my mother in law who is dying of lung cancer so I can appreciate some of this.

  • Kelly
    June 6, 2014

    you are such an amazing woman. beautiful.

  • Tarah
    June 6, 2014

    You are amazing. This post IS profound! Maybe not what you thought you’d post for your one year anniversary, but profound nevertheless.
    You are honest & raw & real. Which is what anyone wants when they’re faced with the same WTF moment and realizing their year still stretches before them, vast and never ending. To know there IS an end in sight & you will be all the better for it.
    Congrats! May you continue to be the most boring patient ever. You’ve earned it!

  • Sara
    June 6, 2014

    You. Did. It. With humor, style, grace and honesty. Well done, Mama!

  • Julie
    June 6, 2014

    Beautiful post! Thank you for being so honest with your story. You are beautiful inside and out!

  • Erin
    June 6, 2014

    Thank YOU for being a wonderful inspiration to us all.

  • Blissmamaof3
    June 6, 2014

    You are absolutely incredible!!
    Xox from the heartland

  • Jen
    June 6, 2014

    Your list of ’15 learned’ should be required reading for anyone who’s had a traumatic change. Thank you for sharing your life with us! Reading about your courage makes me more courageous to tackle my TBI (traumatic brain injury). Fight like a girl, always!

  • kimmckibbin@bellsouth.net
    June 6, 2014

    Powerful… you ARE!

  • Andrea
    June 6, 2014

    Thank you for this. You are amazing and an inspiration. I was recently diagnosed and am at home recovering from a lumpectomy as I write this. #8 – yes! I’m hating pink these days.

  • S
    June 6, 2014

    Oh, I don’t know, there’s some pretty profound shit in there. 😉
    I also do not like pink.
    And did anyone tell you that it must be so “nice to not do anything and let your family do all the chores”? Uhm, nope, nothing NICE about any of it. duh.
    That was an amazing slide show. I didn’t take any photos at all, because just my own memories are more than enough.
    Blessings to you all!

  • Joules (from Pocketful of Joules)
    June 6, 2014

    Shana – Great post and beautiful video. The way that your husband and children look at you totally melt my heart into a puddle. Happy one year! xxoo

  • Ida
    June 6, 2014

    Thank you for this glimpse into your past year. I am a first time commenter but avid reader of your blog. You handle yourself with such grace. And spunk! You are inspiring. Congratulations on being boring. 🙂 All the best to you.

  • Amy
    June 6, 2014

    Amazing, just amazing.

  • Monique
    June 6, 2014

    Shana: You are strong, and beautiful woman — a true inspiration. Thank you for sharing your journey. Wishing you excellent health from here on out.

  • mary
    June 6, 2014

    beautiful slideshow. only you could have battled cancer with such beauty, grace and style.

  • Maggie
    June 6, 2014

    Feel loved. xoxo Maggie

  • Teresa
    June 6, 2014

    Wise words, and the video is breathtaking-sad and happy but beautiful throughout, thanks for sharing. I am so so glad you made it .

  • kt o
    June 6, 2014

    so beautiful! I can’t imagine how much your boys will love this when they’re older

  • Julie
    June 6, 2014

    Love you, Shana!

  • Staci
    June 6, 2014

    This was breath taking and beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  • Anjanette
    June 6, 2014

    That was really beautiful Shana, and so are you– in ALL the pics.
    I was a fairly new reader to your blog just before your diagnosis, but what strikes me most about the way you’ve shared is that you’ve done it in EXACTLY all the same spirit as the rest of your blog, which is amazing. From your hair adventures to your Christmas card, to this slideshow, you’ve kept on living your life in style and if that isn’t fierce I don’t know what is.
    While none of us want to go through what you have, seeing how you’ve survived and thrived makes it seem like I could do it too. If you consider that effect, multiplied times all of your blog readers, I’d say that’s a pretty profound achievement.
    Thank you and your family so much for sharing (as an aside, how cute are your boys? And how seriously swoonworthy is your husband? You sure picked a good one :)). I wish health and happiness for all of you going forward.

  • Cat S.
    June 6, 2014

    Beautiful video of your journey. Congrats on your last appointment!

  • Emily
    June 6, 2014

    You are beautiful. You are loved. You are amazing. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  • sarah goodman
    June 6, 2014

    well i wept like a baby.
    i am so, SO overjoyed for you. so thankful for your health.
    for God. for science.
    your boys must be so proud.
    way to go mama.
    you did it!
    and my oh my are you beautiful as ever.

  • BethK
    June 6, 2014

    So many tears! That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing your journey over the past year. It’s cliche, but you are an inspiration. Here’s to many more healthy years ahead of you!

  • Rebecca
    June 6, 2014

    Thanks for sharing. All the best to you.

  • Anina
    June 6, 2014

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  • Suzanne
    June 6, 2014

    Beautiful. My mom had a double mastectomy this week. Thank you for you openess, honesty, bravery & all around awesomeness.

  • Heather
    June 6, 2014

    Just cried my face off. That was…and you are…STUNNING..

  • chez
    June 6, 2014

    Thank you, powerful mama and real woman. To life and love. xoxo

  • Allison
    June 6, 2014

    Such an amazing post, and a beautiful video. You are the best.

  • heather
    June 6, 2014

    I wish I was more original – but I’ll just say that yes, it’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing with us. Your willingness to be vulnerable is breathtaking and shows such a strength. I also suspect that cancer is in my future (four generation family history) so this speaks to me on a lot of levels. Thanks also to Mike, your family and your boys for wrapping their arms around you. A lot of us readers wished we could do that for you in the last year.

  • Tina C.
    June 6, 2014

    Thank you so much for posting this.

  • Nikki
    June 6, 2014

    Wow that really touched me. I cried. I thought of my mom. I miss her. And I am proud of you.

  • Miranda
    June 6, 2014

    I’m having trouble finding the right words to say how much I appreciate you sharing your story. All I can come up with is thank you and you are awesome. So glad that you are “boring!”

  • Megan B
    June 6, 2014

    Your honesty is both refreshing and beautiful. Thanks for sharing this and congratulations on being a boring patient. It’s the best kind to be!

  • Alex
    June 6, 2014

    What a moving video. I take my hat off to you. You are a fighter and an inspirational woman. Thank you for sharing – it was raw and hard to look at because cancer IS raw and hard to look at. Well done you. Love and light from New Zealand 🙂 xxxxxxx

  • Chrissy
    June 6, 2014

    celebrating fabulous you. so so happy for a great one year appt. hugs.

  • Marla
    June 6, 2014

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. thanks for sharing, especially the parts where you mention that things get better!
    I’m halfway through chemo and this weeks “chemo crush” is settling in for the weekend. I may have heart damage from the chemo/herceptin combo but won’t know for a few days. I was supposed to leave for Barcelona with my kids yesterday but that is obviously canceled as my bones are aching and I’m immuno-compromised.
    You have inspired me, advised me (face gel mask – YES!), and given me a realistic look at what is in store for me as I am about 6 months behind you in treatment and diagnosis. I’m sorry we are in this shitty club together but glad to have you to look up to. xoxo

  • liz
    June 6, 2014

    Awesome.

  • liz
    June 6, 2014

    Thank you for letting us along for the ride. You are an inspiration. God bless you in your recovery.

  • Wendy
    June 6, 2014

    Moving. Beautiful. Thank you so much for gracefully and bravely sharing your journey with us.

  • Ann-Renee
    June 6, 2014

    Thank you for sharing such a hard, intimate journey with us. You brought tears to my eyes. My best wishes to you and your beautiful family. xo

  • Carrie
    June 6, 2014

    Wonderfully moving. Cheers to being boring!

  • Juliana @ Urban Simplicity
    June 6, 2014

    What a beautiful, beautiful video. Thanks for sharing.

  • Shannon
    June 6, 2014

    I just admire your courage and your strength to keep blogging thru this crazy year. So happy you are back to health and hair and boobs and eyelashes. Congrats!!!

  • Beth
    June 6, 2014

    You truly are a genuinely beautiful person. Just breathtaking. Thank you.
    I’ve said this here before but your husband is smokin hot! And your love for eachother is so obvious. You really have so much to share with the world. Thank you so so much.

  • Jesse
    June 6, 2014

    I’m a voracious reader, but rare commenter. I admire your grace, honesty, and slight cynicism.
    A week after finding out I’m pregnant with a difficult to conceive baby, I learned that I have invasive cervical cancer. If it doesn’t progress before delivery, I’ll only need a hysterectomy. I haven’t told anyone but my sisters yet, but your blog has been a cathartic way to be open vicariously. Thank you.
    P.s. I went for the fanny pack and really dig it!

  • Patricia S.
    June 6, 2014

    Beautiful. Tears. Thank you for sharing. You are amazing!

  • Katherine
    June 6, 2014

    Not sure I’ve ever commented before … I started reading your blog 2+ years and 2 babies ago. Came for the fashion, stayed for your wonderful sense of humor, honesty, and fierce style. You’ve walked a tough road in killa heels, lady. Happy boring patient day to you!!

  • Michele Catten
    June 6, 2014

    As much as I’ve enjoyed following your blog for your confident fashion sense, focus on being a real mom, and humor (loved the board shorts for men post this week made me lol), I am grateful BEYOND WORDS for this post. Just commemorated my one-year MS diagnosis anniversary – “just” meaning in January. I have felt stuck the past couple of months and completely uninspired to continue leading a full life. Can’t tell you how timely it is to be reminded that I am not alone – women stick together because we are stronger that way. Thank you…thank you.
    Michele

  • Lisa McP
    June 6, 2014

    Made me tear up….because of your kids and the idea that they could’ve lost their mother. Very emotional journey- you were beautiful the whole way through.

  • Beth
    June 6, 2014

    Beautiful. Beautiful video. Beautiful words. Beautiful being- you.
    One word that comes to mind when I watched the video was LOVE. There is so much love there Shana. And you know what? It is coming back to you tenfold…
    Thank you for sharing…thank you for being…

  • Lindsey Stevenson
    June 6, 2014

    Faithful reader, rare commenter. Thank you for your honesty, this is a fashion blog, but there is more, you didn’t hide anything related to your breast cancer. I am amazed. I hate that you had to go through this. Thanks for all the education , fashion and beyond ! Congrats to be a boring patient , may your medical records become dusty!

  • Hannah
    June 6, 2014

    You’re awesome. Not just because you kicked breast cancer’s a** and looked good doing it , but because your humorous, beautiful take on life inspires all of us. Best wishes to all the mamas (and ladies) going through this right now.

  • Gret
    June 6, 2014

    You are so full of fabulous! Thanks for sharing your journey.

  • Jen
    June 6, 2014

    I’ve watched your whole journey….you are breathtakingly marvelous! Thank you so much for sharing it with us! So glad you’re now through to the other side. What an amazing woman. We <3 you, S!

  • Laura
    June 6, 2014

    Thank YOU. For being so honest, eloquent, and open.

  • Lindsay
    June 6, 2014

    So beautiful. My boys are the same ages as yours, I’m sure you held them oh so tight this year. Much love.

  • Nina
    June 6, 2014

    Wow Shana! Thank you for being so brutally honest about your experiences this past year with breast cancer. I’ve been reading your blog ever since I had my first baby 4 years ago and I cried last year when I found out you were sick. I loved your video, especially the photos showing you and your family powering through this.
    Congratulations on your recovery! Having your voice out here on the internet is a source of support for moms and survivors everywhere! Keep on doing what you’re doing!

  • michelle
    June 6, 2014

    Beautiful. Just beautiful. Brought me to tears. I am inspired by you in so many ways. You go, amazing woman, you.

  • Christin
    June 6, 2014

    So honest and beautiful… Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Nancy
    June 6, 2014

    You are amazing. I have been reading your blog for years and just love your writing, humor and honesty. Thank you for doing what you do.

  • Paula
    June 6, 2014

    I never comment but have been a reader for years – that video. So gorgeous, so moving. Wishing you the best health as I wipe the tears away. Thanks for bringing us with you and showing us how to be real, raw and graceful all at once.

  • Meghan
    June 7, 2014

    Cheers to your one year anniversary and being a boring patient! Thank you for sharing your journey with us, your readers. It has been an honor to follow your fight!

  • Lori
    June 7, 2014

    I remember one year ago well. I read your post and cried out loud. I wrote my first comment, trying in an awkward, gauche way to show some sort of support, we readers who know you so well, who know you not at all. And your lovely gracious thank you post, where you said you and Mike read every comment out loud together.
    I know you are a normal, flawed human being but you are pretty awesome too. Thank you for not giving up on us and for sharing. It means more than you can know.
    xx Lori

  • wendy
    June 7, 2014

    this is beautiful and perfect and you are amazing. i love it.

  • Kate
    June 7, 2014

    This video brought tears to my eyes and I don’t even know you! Thank you for being so honest and sharing your journey with your readers over the past year. I know you say you’re still waiting for some profound insight, but I think the list you wrote in this post is pretty profound! Thanks too for maintaining the blog over the past year. I was in a total style rut after my first was born and you helped me get out of it and feel like myself again!

  • Allison
    June 7, 2014

    Oof. Bawling. So so glad you’re doing well. Love your blog and your bravery, grace, and beauty. Wishing you continued health and a crazy-awesome-happy year.

  • bonnie
    June 7, 2014

    feel like my heart has been squeezed. life is so crazy.
    …..so much love in this world. thanks for sharing all the love through pictures.

  • Kate
    June 7, 2014

    Never commented before but just wanted to say you are amazing, brave and beautiful 🙂 That video puts everyday life into perspective – every moment, every smile of a child is a joy to be cherished. Wishing you a wonderful happy healthy year ahead xx

  • Kim
    June 7, 2014

    Your video is so honest and beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. So glad you are healthy. Wishing you a MUCH better year this year!

  • Ashli
    June 7, 2014

    I love your blog, your honesty, your strength and style! Love to you and your family!

  • Mariah
    June 7, 2014

    Sitting on my couch, watching your video and crying… my hubs looks over and says, “You’re reading that blog again, aren’t you?” It’s true, your posts have made me cry quite a few times this past year. As a mom of a 3 year old boy, your journey has touched a very vulnerable place that exists in all of us. And even if you haven’t felt strong throughout this, you have inspired strength and gratitude in me. Thank you for being so open and honest and real!
    Cheers to this next sail around the sun being better and brighter for you and your beautiful family! Hugs from Boulder!

  • Emma
    June 7, 2014

    I raise my glass in your honour. Thanks for sharing and much love for you and your family.

  • Maggie
    June 7, 2014

    Not self-indulgent but humble and humbling. Thank you.

  • K
    June 7, 2014

    5 and 6. Omg. My cancer-versary is soon (June 24.) currently, I long for bangs.

  • Kendra
    June 7, 2014

    In my experience, meaning doesn’t come in clear answers or sudden wisdom. It comes in the relationships we build working our way through the worst of life and our ability to expand that capacity to connect to others with every passing crisis. Watching the way you have done this with your own family and with so many of the rest of us is pretty incredible. Thanks for being.

  • Amy
    June 7, 2014

    Stunning, every last word.

  • Anne Marie
    June 7, 2014

    I’m almost 7 mos. in. Been following your progress. Thank you for your video, validating my feelings and giving me something to look forward to… My best to you Shana and your beautiful family.

  • Kate
    June 8, 2014

    Wow. Just wow. I’ve followed you in silence for years now and have thought about your fight when I’m just milling about in life (a sign of how powerful your writing and openness are to those of us who might not otherwise understand the intricacies of breast cancer) and I am so happy for you and your beautiful family. I’m also so grateful to you for sharing your fight with us. Your pictures of you and your family during this are the hardest to see as a mother to a 2 year old and a 6 week old – I’m bawling in the dark while nursing in the middle of the night – your video is so beautiful. Mariah, above said it more eloquently than I could have – but I will second her in that I hope your next year is wonderful. You’ve earned it.
    Kate

  • Erin
    June 8, 2014

    Oh my goodness… In tears, both happy and sad, I have to just tell you that you are so incredibly beautiful, inside and out. I see your strong, loving momma spirit in all of those photos and you are just absolutely inspiring. I am so happy that you posted the reality of your experience, and that, in itself, if such a beautiful thing. All the damn hard pain and feelings of doubt or defeat in the midst of the strength and the softness and the love… it is just beautiful. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You are amazing.

  • Christine
    June 8, 2014

    Such an amazing video. Thank you for sharing and fighting!

  • Louis Carr
    June 8, 2014

    Shana, Thank you for sharing your experience. The blog and the video are a beautiful testament of the struggles, the ups, the downs and the love that you have in your life. We appreciate your sharing.

  • Erin
    June 8, 2014

    So glad that you are doing well. I love reading your blog and you are such an inspiration. Cheers to great health and wonderful memories ahead!

  • Steven Lindberg
    June 8, 2014

    You are one beautiful, talented, young lady …. even if you always make me cry.
    Steve

  • Anissa
    June 9, 2014

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I was diagnosed with breast cancer one month ago today, while 35 weeks pregnant. I now have a two-year-old and three-week-old at home and am 2 weeks into chemo treatments. Standing at the bottom of this mountain, it is so inspirational to see that things could look so beautiful this time next year. Congratulations and hugs to you.

  • Lauren L
    June 9, 2014

    Crying at my desk!!!! You are an inspiration to all women. xxxx

  • Lindsay
    June 9, 2014

    Wonderful post. Thank you and so so happy you are healthy!

  • Melissa
    June 9, 2014

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this year with us.

  • kelly
    June 9, 2014

    Thank you for sharing this, beautiful mama.
    Now I have to go cry some more.

  • Francine
    June 9, 2014

    You are amazing! Thank you for sharing your brave self.

  • Jennifer Gray
    June 9, 2014

    So much love to you. I said it in the beginning, and I say it again: You can do it. You are doing it. You just keep it up and you will see, are seeing, so much love, so much beauty, around you every single day. You are such a beauty.
    I am 5 and 1/2 years out now–all clear. Grateful for life, for beauty, for love.
    Jen

  • Melissa c.
    June 9, 2014

    Love and blessings to you, girl 🙂

  • Shelby
    June 9, 2014

    I’m sitting here nursing my baby in the dark, husband snoring next to me, bawling my eyes out. You are such a beautiful person, with a radiant spirit. Thank you for sharing that inspiring video. I hope that if I ever go through anything similar, I can do so with 1/2 as much poise, grace, and good humor as you’ve done. You have such a lovely family and I wish you all the best. Thanks for being so genuine, heartfelt, and relatable.

  • stclementmom
    June 10, 2014

    “no one will look at you because you are a BUMMER” such an important lesson and for sure am going to go out there in life with a renewed mission not to make people feel like a bummer. Thank you.

  • Amanda
    June 10, 2014

    I just found your blog and I’m so glad I did! My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer almost a year and a half ago. Fuck cancer, eh? High five for fighting like a girl! And thank you for sharing this video with us. Beautiful!

  • tamar
    June 10, 2014

    Properly love you female warrior.

  • Tamm
    June 10, 2014

    Beautiful! Fight like a Girl!!! You R.O.C.K!

  • Veronica
    June 10, 2014

    Like so many others, I cried watching this. I cried for you and for my mom who went through much of the same thing and more. My mom also hated pink and never wore any of the pink stuff people gave her. She also told me she wasn’t brave, just doing what she had to do to live. You showed me what it was like for her, and I think that might be the greatest gift you’ve given others on how to help. I was not living near my mother when she was going through her mastectomy, chemo, and radiation, and while I came home as much as I could, I did not really know what she was experiencing, I cried also because I wish I could’ve done more for her. I am so, so glad that you are recovering and have a full joyous life ahead of you. Your husband and your boys are very lucky.

  • Tara
    June 10, 2014

    You rocked it, Girl!! Thanks for always being you!!!
    Tara K

  • Amanda
    June 10, 2014

    (This is Maryland Amanda, the one who has been following you religiously since 2009 – you did an awesome styleboard for me back in 2011 featuring Stevie Nicks). So many people would have shut the blog down, just focused on getting well & understandably so, but you have taken this and turned it into something so positive, so real, so beautiful & so helpful to so many. (AND you have kept on blogging on about fashion!) No surprise, you are YOU. Cheers to THAT year behind you.

  • Erin
    June 11, 2014

    thank you so much for sharing that. I wonder how many people it will help? to know that they are not alone in what they are going through. You are so awesome to share this with us all. We feel like we know you, with your funny posts and clever wit and mommy issues. We’ve all got your stylish back my dear!

  • Mo
    June 11, 2014

    You are so blessed to have won your fight with cancer. I am so sorry you had to go through with it the first place. And I am so thankful that your cute little boys and darling husband still have many years with you. Also thank you for sharing your tough battle and journey with us online. It has really put the little challenges into perspective. Bless you and your family.

  • Krysta
    June 12, 2014

    Shana, I have no words. Being so far away and so removed from your year is heartbreaking for me. Your video is overwhemling. Thank you for sharing. I miss you and love you, Krysta

  • TKG
    June 12, 2014

    This totally brought tears to my eyes, despite being literally surrounded by cancer myself. Am sitting in a ward with my baby, waiting for her chemo for her brain tumour to be given. All the other kids here are having chemo too. I hate cancer, I hate that anyone has to go through it at any time of life. Thanks for a positive story. Hope is hope is hope.

  • Shana
    June 12, 2014

    Love you too, Babe.  We SO miss you guys.  xoxoxox

  • Claire
    June 13, 2014

    I’ve never left a comment before, but have been reading on an off since about the time you were diagnosed last year. Many women close to me have been diagnosed in the last year, and I found your blog so helpful in attempting to understand what they were experiencing. Thanks for your honesty, courage, and ability to be so open with your readers. Your sense of humor throughout all has been powerful, and your dedication to your family inspiring. Not to mention the fashion, which is how I first heard of your blog. You have such great style! Thanks again for sharing, and I look forward to reading future posts and hearing how you’re doing. And way to fight like a girl. 🙂

  • Jessica Waggoner
    June 15, 2014

    Tears! Shana! We were all fighting with you, momma. You are such an inspiration. xo.

  • Jennifer Broughton
    June 22, 2014

    Shana,
    I just wanted to say that I love, love, love the video. What an amazing way to tell the story. I was diagnosed with breast cancer June 4, of 2012. I had a double mastectomy and 4 rounds of tc. I have waited to do reconstruction until this August. I have 3 kids and live in Seattle. I am originally from Easton, PA. Thanks so much for sharing your story.
    Jennifer

  • cathy
    August 29, 2014

    Shana- I read this completely relating to everything you said. We must have been diagnosed around the same time. I was on June 14, 2013. My cancer was triple negative, so I had a mastectomy, chemo, and radiation. Just had my reconstruction 4 weeks ago. I am a blogger as well with RS (where I read about you). Are you by chance going to be in NY for fashion week? If so, hope to meet you at RS event. So happy that you are doing well! God is so good, and we are so blessed!

    • Shana
      August 31, 2014

      Cathy, I will be there on Saturday. Looking forward to meeting you. xoxo

  • Traci
    May 19, 2016

    Thank you for sharing. I am at the beginning of my journey and needed this today.

  • Kathleen
    January 23, 2017

    Thank you so much for this and all of your posts! Ironically I found this right when I needed it after coming over here for fashion advice via RookieMoms.

    You’re right, there is very little outside the forums and the plastics before and afters. I’m two weeks post double mastectomy (39, first mammogram, heading for the chemo plan meeting tomorrow) so I am hoarding all your advice and product tips too!! Thank you!!!

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