Pax is looking at old pictures. “Who is that, Mom?” he asks. I look over his little shoulder, allowing myself a brief moment of silence for the death of yet another Baby Pax Phrase (rest in peace “WHO DAT”), and then turn my attention to the photo.
It’s me. The women he’s pointing to…is me. The picture is an old one, but it’s of Pax and I. Pax’s chubby face is smeared with brown smoothie (I went through a terrible kale-and-strawberry smoothie phase – don’t recommend it), and my face is snuggled up into his neck. My hair – or lack thereof – is a dead giveaway. It’s only two inches long, but other than that, I look healthy and happy. I’m shocked Pax doesn’t recognize me.
“Remember when Mum was sick all of the time?” I ask Pax. He nods, slowly. He knows he’s supposed to know this. His older brother saunters over, glances at the photo. “Yeah….that was Mom’s chemo, Pax. But you were just a baby.” Raines’ tone is flippant. He flops down next to us, with all of the swagger of an 8 year old boy. Then plants a sweet kiss on my cheek. “I’m glad that’s over, huh Mom?”
My boys’ view of my breast cancer can be summarized like this: it happened, it sucked, and now it’s done. Bye!
But the thing about breast cancer is that it’s never really over. There are genetic tests to be run, Tamoxifen side effects to be managed, fake boobs to be groped periodically, and – if things get really exciting – uterine biopsies “just in case”. And ultrasounds. Oh, the ultrasounds.
In the last two years, I’ve had more ultrasounds than both pregnancies combined. At first, the ultrasounds were really depressing, not just for the typical reasons – hello, stirrups – but because they seemed like some sort of bad cosmic joke. A haha, she thought she was going to have another baby but instead she got breast cancer – at least the ultrasounds are the same!! kind of joke. I would lie there, blinking back tears and resentment.
But life goes on, and our new normal actually started to feel…normal. Fun, even – with two growing boys there is plenty of fun. So we adapted to our new normal, which for me, means ultrasound after ultrasound after ultrasound. For my last one, I decided to make the best of it and brought a book. “I’m just going to ignore you” I informed the ultrasound tech, lifting my feet into the stirrups and scooching my butt to the edge of the bed. “It’s nothing personal, I’m just trying to carve out some me time.”
I mean. Desperate times.
A friend of mine refers to these breast cancer….extras (extra worries, extra tests, extra sleepless nights) as “Survivorship Issues.”
I LOVE this phrase, Survivorship Issues. I love it because it reminds me that I’m one of the lucky ones. Yeah, the ultrasounds suck, and there are too many days where I battle my own anxieties (it’s a totally weird thing, calculating the age you can safely die knowing your children will be OK – my mother assures me this is both totally normal AND completely effing meaningless), and the phrase Survivorship Issues reminds me that all of these anxieties and tests and extra appointments and – yes – even the Tamoxifan side effects are all because I made it. I survived. I’m a survivor.
So yeah. Bring on allllll the issues.
I’m working with LOFT to help raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, a cause that’s obviously very near and dear to my heart. And yours, too. Since my diagnosis four years ago, I have received countless emails from readers newly diagnosed with breast cancer. I have heard from new mothers, pregnant mothers, and women in their 20’s who haven’t yet had children. There are 2.8 million women affected by Breast Cancer in the United States alone, and roughly 40,000 of us are expected to die from it this year (source). As we are learning, Breast Cancer is not a disease of the elderly.
Since 2007, the LOFT Cares Card and products have raised more than $26 million for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and LOFT hopes to donate close to $4.65 million this year (companywide) to support 18 research projects in 2016/2017.
There are three ways you can participate in the LOFT Cares programs:
1. Buy a LOFT Cares Card. The LOFT Cares Card is a discount card available for sale in-store from Sept 16 – Nove 15th. You buy the card for $25, and a whopping 90% of the purchase price is donated to BCRF. The Cares Card then allows you to take 20% off your purchase of $100+ (or 25% off if you are a card member) until Nov 15th.
2. Purchase any of the limited edition LOFT Cares jewelry, and 60% of the purchase price is donated to BCRF. This year, LOFT partnered with jewelry designer Tai to create some seriously pretty baubles. My personal favorites are this layering necklace and these pretty drop earrings.
3. Refer a friend – for every new email address LOFT acquires through the refer a friend program, they’ll donate $1 (up to $25K).
Ok, now for the fun! On the off chance that anyone might have trouble spending their LOFT Cares Card (ha, ha)….here are my current favorites:
Hi, Navy Blue. Love You.
The cropped peacoat is a dead-ringer for a Frame denim one recently featured on GOOP, and the kick flare crop jeans are so freaking cute (and on sale for under $20).
The Cotton Candy Coat
I’m totally and completely obsessed with this coat. And the cami – wore it all weekend.
Velvet Jeans That Even Denim Snobs Will Love
Any longtime reader of this blog knows that I’m an insufferable denim snob….but I was pleasantly surprised by LOFT’s denim. I genuinely liked the kick crop flares from earlier and I luuuuved these velvet skinnies.
Shop LOFT Favorites
For ease of shopping, here are the pieces I featured above, as well as a few additional items that caught my eye….
A huge thank you to LOFT for sponsoring this post, but even more importantly, for their ongoing commitment to support the BCRF. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and product choices are my own. And readers, thank you for your continued support of The Mom Edit, as well as my ongoing breast cancer journey. I consider your support to be one of the brightest parts of breast cancer, and have been repeatedly humbled by the kindness of this community. Love and light to you all. xo