So it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, aka “Pinktober,” the often sarcastic moniker used by breast cancer survivors. It’s odd, but as a survivor, all of the October hoopla surrounding breast cancer awareness is often….overwhelming.
It’s not that I don’t like pink, pink is fine. It’s just that among the often insincere pushing of “awareness” products (one catalog came to our house filled with pages of pink ribbons and pencils and mugs but literally zero donations associated with purchase) – why pink, specifically?
I associate pink with all things girly and feminine. Pink is flirty, pink is giggly, pink is young girls in princess dresses and birthday cakes and celebrations! Yay!!! And this is the crux of my problem: Pink embodies the exact things that breast cancer strips away. Breast cancer took my breasts, my hair, my ability to conceive. While I was going through chemo, my sex drive tanked, I often felt like a 90 year old woman, and I missed countless celebrations (like my son’s 3rd birthday). You want to talk about feminine whiles? Yeah, right. Flirting and giggling were like long lost fuzzy memories. They were something a girl who looked vaguely like me may have done a long, long time ago.
Breast cancer isn’t pink. It’s fucking black.
And I’m one of the lucky ones. I mean…time will tell, but I might even be one of the luckiest girls ever diagnosed with breast cancer. As far as my doctors are concerned, my cancer is gone. GONE. Because it was caught so early, because of the double mastectomy and all of the chemo and the Tamoxifan for the next 10 years….I will, most likely, remain cancer free. For life! My luck, my unfuckingbelieveable luck steals my breath. It drops me to my knees. It is, quite possibly, the most humbling experience of my life.
Because the truth about breast cancer, and this is the really black part, is that women – young women – are still dying from this disease. I know, because I’ve met them. I’ve chatted with women who were diagnosed while pregnant and had to start chemo before they delivered their baby in the hope – the prayer! – that they may live long enough to mother. The women who, like I, were shocked to find out they had breast cancer because they were still nursing, dammit! Aren’t you protected by nursing? Aren’t you safe? And for too many of these women, their cancers were either very aggressive or caught too late, and they’re looking at a lifetime of fighting this awful disease.
Mamas, we are not protected by pregnancy or nursing or even by our youth. Young women – women without the BRCA genes – are getting diagnosed with breast cancer and we don’t know why. Some think it’s toxins in our environment. Breastcancer.org (one of the most reputable sources for all things breast cancer) recently published an update on the link between BPA and breast cancer. It’s downright scary, and, I suspect, only scratches the surface of what we’re dealing with.
The single most important thing we can do to protect ourselves is to prioritize our own health. Schedule our yearly exams (and go!!), call about any suspicious lumps, try to exercise, eat healthy, and avoid toxins. For some of us (1 in 8 actually), these steps can make the difference between early detection – and a shot at a life without cancer – vs. a Stage 4 diagnosis and a lifetime of trying to stay a step ahead of this awful disease.
I’m thrilled to partner with Stella and Dot to raise money for the amazing Noreen Fraser Foundation. Noreen Fraser, the founder and CEO, has been living with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer since 2003. She is alive today because of breakthrough treatments that have become available in the last 10 years. I cannot say this enough: The fight against breast cancer is very real, and for too many of us, urgent. Donations to the Noreen Fraser Foundation are used to advance treatments in precision medicine – the kind of treatments that can help those already fighting for their lives – live.
Stella and Dot is donating 100% of proceeds from their Hope line to the Noreen Fraser Foundation. 100%!! Now that is what commitment looks like. Bravo, Stella and Dot.
But that’s not all. My good friends over at Stella and Dot – the consultants on the ground – wanted to do more. They wanted to help spread love and support to those of us currently #fightinglikeagirl. We talked about what support looks like when you’re actually going through breast cancer, what kinds of things help bring a little light into those dark days.
As you can imagine, I have some strong opinions.
So here’s what we’re going to do: The Mom Edit and Stella and Dot have teamed up to host an online truck show to bring a little joy to anyone currently fighting breast cancer. Anything you buy (through that specific link) will help us accumulate hostess credits for Stella & Dot jewelry, as well as proceeds. We will be gifting a few breast cancer fighters with one heck of a care package: a Stella & Dot shopping spree, as well as cash giftcards to help ease their burden of recovery from surgeries, radiation, and chemo. (I found acupuncture, massage, and Whole Foods gift cards to be my saving grace last year, but we’ll let the winners pick their own.)
Here’s how you can help:
1. Shop our trunk show. All purchases you make through our trunk show link will help us accumulate jewelry credits (and cash) so we can spoil someone currently fighting breast cancer. (The purchase of any piece from the Breast Cancer Research line has the added benefit of donating 100% of proceeds to the Noreen Fraser Foundation.)
2. Help us find fighters to spoil rotten. Do you know someone (or are someone) who has been recently diagnosed, or is currently fighting breast cancer? Nominate them (or yourself!!) for our care package. To keep things easy, nominate via the Rafflecopter widget below. If your fighter is selected, we’ll get in touch with you for their details. And to really help spread the word (the more people who participate in the trunk show, the more we can do), please feel free to share on FB, tag on instagram, or repin on Pinterest (I think Rafflecopter gives you additional entries for this as well…??). In any case, please enter each person you are nominating separately into Rafflecopter. Otherwise these things start to hurt my head.)
3. Lastly, take care of your self. Make those pesky OB/GYN appointments and get those lumps checked out. Your #fightlikeagirl starts now. Fight for your time, fight for your health.
Now ready or not, here comes Pinktober.
Love and light, Babes.
I want to nominate a second friend, too. My friend Lisa M. I couldn’t figure out how to nominate two. Thanks!
Can you enter the giveaway again? Just put a different friend’s name in the box? Or is Rafflecopter not letting you? If not, that’s fine. We’ll can add in nominations from the comments as well.
What a great post. It’s been 2 years since my double mastectomy after discovering two lumps in one breast and LCIS in the other. I was 49. Last year I had a hysterectomy after having problems stemming from the tamoxifen. I have very mixed feelings about the pink stuff – I feel like people just think its all so “cute” without realizing there are humans actually suffering from this cancer.
My hormones are totally messed up and I’ve lost all my sex drive. But I’m blessed to have a supportive spouse and friends and family.
Keep on fighting and thank you Shana.
Thanks for taking the time to leave this comment, Margaret. So sorry that you have to fight, but sounds like you’re doing one heck of a job.
Although I (thankfully) don’t know anyone currently fighting breast cancer, your words on this topic just get me right in the back of the throat and make me choke up. What a beautiful post and inspiring idea! Now I’m off to shop the trunk show…
Mariah – thank you SO much for your support. xoxo
I love the Stella and Dot jewelry! And great prices. This is a beautiful idea, bravo. So nice when something will actually make a difference to a real live person.
RIGHT? That’s what we were going for – to reach out and help someone in our community (online or local).
I’m new to online trunk shows, so forgive the novice-question: can I shop it anytime and have the proceeds & credits count for you? Or do I have to wait until Oct 31? Sorry for the confusion – please help?
Nicole – as long as you use that link, you can shop anytime!! The link will be up and running until Oct 31st. Once November hits, we’ll shut down the trunk show and start sending out care packages. Does that help clear things up? xoxo
beautiful. I don’t know anyone currently fighting like a girl…but I am shopping the trunk show!
Thank you, Belinda, as always, for your amazing support!!! xoxo
oh ps…that turtleneck looks deliciously comfy..:)
It’s just J.Crew’s tissue turtleneck! http://rstyle.me/~2K5Hi
I’ve also been staring at this one: http://rstyle.me/~2K5LO
Have you tried it?
This. This is why we read. Because you could’ve packed up your toys- your body and soul, your wit and grace- turned out the blog lights and gone home. And no one would’ve blamed you. Thank you.
Awesome and so well said. Too many women. Too many. Especially you. Being diagnosed everyday. Love breastcancer.org and the info they share about how to make your home and environment safe. Thank you for sharing! And the Noreen Fraser Foundation is amazing! Thanks for partnering, Shana. xoxo
You have been an inspiration to me since I saw your year in photos, and I still shed tears when I see it. I came accross it around the time I was diagnosed, I am currently #fightinglikeagirl, fighting my own battle and taking care of my son (20 months old) who was born with a rare syndrome (tough times). I find strength reading blog posts like yours. The Trunk Show is an amazing thing, sadly I can’t take part since I don’t live in the US. I am totally inspired by you, thank you! hugs xo
Thanks for this inspiring post! I wish I could shop the trunk sale to help out but my too-long struggle with secondary infertility means I’ll have to direct those funds to another shot or doctor’s visit. But I am nominating my sister-in-law, a mama of two girls who is learning to live fearlessly despite recurrence odds that would scare most other people silly. Can’t wait to see you spoil someone and will keep my fingers crossed it’s my girl, Amyu!
I’m fortunate enough not to know anyone currently #fightlikeagirl but wanted too tell you what an amazingly strong inspiration you are. Going to shop with tears in my eyes. ❤️
Ps – LOVE’ING your hair!!!!!
Thanks so much for keeping it real on your blog by sharing your personal journey thru cancer. I get teared up and inspired at the same time when I read your stories and experience. Will definitely check out the trunk show.
Oh, honey, yet another post by you that makes me want to fling my body to the floor and sob my little heart out. The photos of you taken by Mike are breathtaking. Love you so much, Sweetie!
I nominate Terrye iannette.
I would like to enter a second person who was just diagnosed. She lost her sister to breast cancer over a year ago. Her name is Beth Ann Thanepohn. Was not able to enter into Rafflecopter. Thanks! PS . . . Love my Stella Dot necklace, bracelet and purse I ordered 🙂
You are the only–ONLY–style blogger whose voice also resonates with me. This post gave me chills. My mom went through it at 49. I had my first biopsy at 30 this year. Breast cancer IS fucking black and thank you for your fresh, unique voice among all the frills and ankle boots.