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.
jacket (xs) | top (xs) | jeans (size 25P) | LOFT Cares necklace
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
coat (xs) | cami (xs) | jeans (size 25P) | LOFT Cares drop earrings
I’m totally and completely obsessed with this coat. And the cami – wore it all weekend.
Velvet Jeans That Even Denim Snobs Will Love
scarf | sweater (M) | jeans (24) | LOFT Cares drop earrings
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
That came looks great on you! I ordered it during the free ship promo and unfortunately I got an email letting me know the petite had sold out so I just got the xs regular and it was so frumpy and unflattering. Bummer! Looks so good on you!
Do the LOFT skinnies fit true to size? I want to get some for next year, but I am pregnant this year, so I can’t really try them on for fit.
I’ll admit that I tend to get frustrated with all the companies who promote breast cancer purchases because they tend to only donate a tiny fraction of what the item costs. But Loft’s 90% for the card and 60% for the special jewelry is amazing. You just don’t see numbers like that, so it’s exciting to see a company actually contributing those percentages to research.
YES! Exactly!! As you can imagine, I get a ton of requests to feature products like this, and am always annoyed by how little these companies are choosing to donate. It starts to feel like a marketing ploy. So when LOFT reached out, I’ll admit my first response was an *almost* snarky, “yeah but how much are you actually donating?” Needless to say I was VERY impressed. Go, LOFT.
I just have to say that I have loved following you for the last 5 yrs. Our kids are about the same ages and when I read your blog I feel like you’re a dear friend! I cried through your breast cancer year with you (my family has the gene so it hit close to home). And I rejoice with you every time you post a picture of you and your boys because I call tell that you don’t take one moment with them for granted! I’m so thankful that you are well and for the fact that that really hard time is just a hiccup in the boys memories, which is really a testimony to how great of parents you and mike are! Thanks for sharing not only amazing fashion inspiration with us but your life. We are all better mamas because of it! 🙂
My name is Jennifer and I was diagnosed at age 44. I had a double mastectomy and 4 founds of chemo. I am four years out now. I live in Seattle and have 3 kids. One 18 year old and 12 year old twins. I definitely feel that once you have cancer your horizon changes. For me it is all about getting them through high school which I think must seem crazy to my friends. Regarding survivorship, I am so very grateful. Although it means dealing with all kind of weird side effects but definitely doable. In response to all the testing. I am humbled every time I go in for some sort of check up. I am not sure that will ever go away. I am also extremely grateful for normal results.
Anyway, thanks for writing about this. It is good to hear about others in the same place.
Thanks, as always, for sharing your cancer story. I’m 21 and have watched three people who were really close to me go through breast cancer treatments in the past few years. Knowing your experience, while uniquely your own, has allowed me to better understand how I can support and empathize with the incredibly strong women in my life who have been diagnosed. Thanks for sharing resources, ways to support, and your experience. Go Loft and Shana, you look so pretty in these photos (especially the ones with the sunglasses – you’re gorgeous!).
This brings me all sorts of feelings. Congrats to you for carrying on! Love to your boys for understanding in their own way.
I love that navy sweater and like how you sized up so much to get the slouchy fit.
Also, after Friday’s post I used Mike’s professional experience (since I read the beginning of the article but not all of it….) to see if my oldest would be interested in those sorts of careers because it’s time he started thinking about that. I mean, he’s 11!
Wow. Shana you have such a way with words…real words…and I can imagine the way my 3, 5 and 6 year olds would also speak with childlike innocence about such a dark period of your life. Just hearing your different recollections brought me to tears, the ultrasound part especially. I’m sorry 🙁 But I’m so glad you came out on the other side and with such grace and a desire to help others and little ones who just keep on going and take you along with them. Such a great example and victory story! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks so much for sharing your story. I am almost five years out and I still have the crazy thoughts about what if something happened and at what age would my kids be okay. I think the crazy is actually very normal:)
Tears came streaming down my face when I got half way down the page. There have been too many days where I have also calculated how many more years that I need to live so that my 2&4 year old children will understand what happened and not think I abandoned them. I think ‘I need five years of remission… and then maybe I can survive a few more years after that…’ And i realize it is so completely F-ed up. My husband tells me I need to be more positive…. and I try! But ultimately the fear takes over. I’m glad I’m not completely crazy and alone with that way of thinking. I’m also glad that you’ve found your new normal and it gives me hope I will too. I realize I’m late to the party on these posts but my SIL reads your blog and thought I would find some of your posts helpful. I feel quite alone with my early(ish) diagnosis at 34 so it’s comforting to read that there are other women with young children who have come through on the other side still smiling.