Category Archives: breast cancer
Another 3-Day has ended but the memories of my 5th journey will last a lifetime. It was a beautiful weekend with sunny skies and temps in the mid 70s. After the hot Michigan summer, we could not imagine a more perfect weekend. Sharing this weekend with my family—my mom, dad, aunt, uncle, cousin Lizzy and most importantly, my 12 year old daughter, Lacey, was an experience I will never forget. Jon joined us for opening ceremonies for the first time standing with me as Lacey carried the “generations” flag into the ceremony.
The event was nothing short of amazing. I walked with friends (both old and new), spent time with family, laughed and enjoyed the crowds cheering us along. My boys came out to cheer on Friday and Saturday. My coworkers cheered us on early in day one, and my grandmother was at a cheer station in downtown Farmington to greet us as we neared the end of the first day.
As I enjoyed the sunny skies and the company of friends and family, my mind drifted to the beautiful women whose lives were tragically cut short by this disease. I mourned for their mothers, sisters and children who will not have the opportunity for the shared experience of a 3-Day weekend. I thought about all the other experiences they will miss. The fight is far from over.
Michigan raised 3.2 million dollars this year—75% of that money will fund life-saving research and the other 25% percent will fund programs in our state. It’s an impressive sum of money but there is so much work to be done. Ta Ta Breast Cancer is signed up for 2013, and I encourage you to join us in this fight. We’ll train together, fundraise together and share the weekend of a lifetime together. I promise you an experience you will never forget.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since one phone call changed my life in such a profound way. It was 9:30 on Thursday night, August 2, 2007 when I got the call. The tiny lump that had been removed 3 days earlier was breast cancer.
Five years later, I look back on that moment. I had no idea what the next day or the next year would bring. I just knew I had a fight in front of me, and I was going to do whatever it took to win. Exactly nine months later, the crazy whirlwind of regular trips to the hospital and the Rose Cancer Center was behind me. I was done with five surgeries and six chemo treatments. My hair started growing back and life returned to normal. But life was different. My outlook was brighter. I’d emerged triumphantly from cancer but I knew there were far too many women who didn’t. My focus shifted from my own fight to theirs. I decided I had to continue to fight on their behalf—to honor their memories. I had to continue to fight so that no other woman had to experience the pain and suffering of saying goodbye to their families. Our fight is far from over.
I don’t ever regret my experience with cancer. It’s a rotten disease—the surgeries were painful, the treatments were tiring. At times, I had to let go of my primary role as a mother because I just wanted to sleep. Losing that sense of control was hard, but it taught me so much. It shaped me as a person, as a mother, as a managing partner at my agency, as a cancer fundraiser, as a mentor to newly diagnosed women. It changed the way I view life, the way I view my family, the way I manage my team and my priorities. It made me realize that there is nothing more important than smiling, laughing and having fun. It made me realize the value of making other people smile, of making other people happy, of lending a helping hand. Yes, I’m different than I was five years ago. My experience with breast cancer shaped me into the person I am today, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
I just finished watching a video from TEDMED 2012 of a presentation given by Dr. Ivan Oransky. In the video, he speaks about predisease states. The presentation seemed interesting, at first, as he talked about many preconditions and the underlying issues of over treatment that can cause unnecessary harm to patients. He raised some good points.
6 minutes into the video, he began his discussion of “previvors”. I’m saddened at his lack of knowledge and insensitivity to women and men who have a known genetic mutation. When I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at age 36, I went through genetic counseling and testing. Through this counseling and testing, I learned of my BRCA 2 mutation–the mutation that significantly increased my lifetime risk of both Breast and Ovarian Cancer. I quickly became involved in a wonderful organization called FORCE. FORCE coined the term previvor, and I am so thankful for what this organization has contributed to the lives of both women and men living with a BRCA mutation. FORCE has saved lives by increasing awareness, providing support, providing education, and providing a community for men and women affected by a hereditary cancer mutation.
Sadly, I know too many young women that learned too late about this mutation. These were mothers, sisters, daughters and friends that left us far too early because of a cancer diagnosis.
Dr. Oransky, I encourage you to learn more before you laugh off the term previvor, before you suggest that Mark Burnett start another TV show. You are talking about beautiful women who are taking measures to save their lives. Beautiful women who deserve to live. I am lucky to know so many previvors who are living wonderfully productive lives because knowledge gave them the power to escape a cancer diagnosis.
Dr. Oransky, I hope you will learn more about hereditary cancer mutations, about previvors, and about this wonderful organization that continues to save lives.
On March 27, in just one week, I will celebrate my 41st birthday. Birthdays are meaningful to me–especially this one. I was 36 when I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. This year I turn 41 and celebrate 5 years of survivorship. I feel so lucky to celebrate another birthday. Sadly, there are far too many women that don’t make it to 41. Yes, breast cancer is still stealing young lives, and I am committed to do what I can to stop that in its tracks. For my 41st birthday or just because, please join me in my fight to put an end to breast cancer.
This year, I have two ways for you to help. Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered has just launched a hereditary cancer research fund–the goal of the fund is to specifically look at the issues surrounding hereditary cancer. I’ve said goodbye to many amazing women who have faced cancer because of a genetic mutation. The research is absolutely critical, and I’m asking for your help. The goal in year 1 is to raise $100,000 to begin funding this important research. With your help, FORCE can get there.
In August, as I officially celebrate 5 years as a survivor, I will also proudly walk with over 40 men and women on Ta Ta Breast Cancer in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. I am proud to say, we are under $70,000 away from raising $500,000 since I first formed the team in 2008.
Please help me celebrate 41 years. Many small donations will add up to so much for both of these organizations. Together, we can say goodbye to breast cancer forever.
It’s been awhile since my last post but it seems like today is as good a time as any to write a blog post. It’s Thanksgiving and, yes, I am thankful for so much.
I’ll never forget Thanksgiving 2007 when I had just recently emerged from a chemo haze. I was bald and not feeling so good but I spent time that day appreciating the great things in my world. Today, those great things are that much more magnified.
I’m thankful for over 4 years of survivorship. I’m thankful that post breast cancer, my life is full and enriched and I feel great. I’m thankful for a career I love with outstanding people who work by my side day in and day out going the extra mile to make our clients happy. I’m thankful for great clients who make work fun and rewarding. I’m thankful for the entire breast cancer community and the wonderful people I’ve met through this journey. I’m thankful for super friends who make life so much fun. And most of all, I’m thankful for my family–both immediate and extended–who bring me joy every single day.
I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
4 years ago today, my life changed in ways I could never imagine at the time. It was a Thursday evening at 9:00 when the phone rang and my doctor shared those 3 little words. Today I celebrate 4 years of surviving breast cancer—a milestone I cherish each day. With each passing year, I feel thankful to be alive and feeling great. I appreciate good health like never before. My year of treatment and surgeries is a distant memory but my comittment to ending this disease continues. Losing beautiful women reminds me that while my fight is over, the big fight is not. So while I celebrate, I also think about all the brave women who battled this disease to the end, and in their memory, I will continue on my mission to say goodbye to breast cancer forever.
Last week we had our 4th annual family rooftop party at 24 Seconds. The weather was iffy making the rooftop party an indoor party. Nevertheless, it was was a huge success–our biggest yet with $1,400 raised for our 3-Day team. A big huge shout out to many businesses that helped with great raffle prizes:
Dr. Paul Darmon
The Pink Fund
The Tiger Foundation
Jazzercise Royal Oak
Accupuncture Healthcare Associates of Michigan
Jeans Gone Green
Mark Cohen Photography
The Zap Zone
And another big shout out to the members of Ta Ta Breast Cancer (and the kids) who helped sell raffle tickets, collect great raffle items and helped promote this event.
We are quickly approaching $95,000. $15,000 to go to reach our big giant goal of $400,000 in 4 years. Please help us get there for all the women still fighting, the women we’ve lost, our daughters, our mothers and our friends. We need your help to say goodbye to breast cancer forever.
Happy 2011! It’s day 2 of 2011 and my mind is already shifting toward warm summer days and long walks with good friends. It’s about now when I start longing for a good long training walk to Birmingham or through downtown Royal Oak with members of my team who become like a big giant family. The 3-Day is so much more than a 3-Day walk–it’s an opportunity to meet new friends, spend hours walking and talking and enjoy the great outdoors all summer long. So many people worry about the training, and well, the training is really one of my favorite parts. In the craziest of raising three kids, working and taking care of a house, my training walks are an opportunity to focus on me. And because I’m truly training and not just working out, it becomes somewhat of an obligation that I cannot skip.
Yesterday marked day one of my 4th breast cancer awareness month as a breast cancer survivor. There’s a pink cast to the world, facebook profile pictures turn to pink ribbons and businesses everywhere are stepping up their support of breast cancer.
Brogan & Partners, my long time employer, has supported my journey every step of the way–participating in fundraisers, walking with me, creating my award winning Ta Ta Breast Cancer logo and just being there for me. I am honored and thrilled everyday to work for this company–the place I’ve called my home away from home for nearly 17 years.
But Marcie Brogan, once again, you’ve outdone yourself. For the next month, our building in downtown Birmingham will shine pink to honor survivors and remember those who’ve lost their life to this disease. If you’re in the area at night, drive by the historic peabody mansion and see for yourself. And thanks dad for capturing this great photo. Yes, I’m one lucky survivor.
It’s been 3 weeks since my 3rd 3-Day experience ended. This year, I had the honor of carrying a flag into opening and closing ceremonies and standing in the Survivor Circle with 7 other survivors. This was, without a doubt, the coolest part of any 3-Day walk.
It started the day before when I had to go to OCC and rehearse. The stage was set up, the crew was there and the place was buzzing. If you’ve ever walked before, you will have a deep appreciation for how I felt when I drove into the parking lot and saw the stage. Kind of like Halloween morning when you were a child or the first day of summer camp. I look forward to seeing that stage every year and I got a sneak peak on Thursday. So after we rehearsed and I learned the plan for opening ceremonies, I went over to crew day to join my dad (the official photographer of Michigan’s 3-Day). I must admit, it was about that time when I started to get a little sad about sharing my personal and team photographer with the 1900 other walkers but on the flip side, he was around the whole weekend. We even ate lunch and dinner together on Friday and he could easily track us down in his official 3-Day vehicle.
Friday morning could not come quick enough. Although I’m pretty sure the Huntington Woods crew thought it came a little too quickly. Yes we were among the first walkers to show up to opening ceremonies. I like to be on time, actually early, and I was hoping to get some good pics with the team before I had to sneak back stage.
Fast forward 2 hours (told you we were there early), I proudly walked out with my commitment flag (smiling ear to ear–with pictures and videos to prove it). And I stood in the circle holding hands with the other 7 survivors as Jenne Fromm led us through opening ceremonies. As soon as opening ceremonies were over, we were off and guess who got to lead the walkers–me. OK, I was 2nd in line but still it was super cool, and I danced my way out of there as the music blared. Afterwards, I circled back, met up with my team and started the 60 mile walk.
And we walked and walked and walked. And it was the hottest three days ever. And I loved every minute of it (ok not exactly every minute) but I loved the walk, the feeling of doing something so powerful, the feeling that I am making a difference with each step. It’s intense and it’s great. No words can describe the feeling that runs through me throughout the entire weekend. I walked with old friends, new friends, coworkers, family and countless survivors. I met new people and shared stories and we encouraged each other along the way.
60 miles, gallons of Gatorade and many blisters later, I marched into closing ceremonies. Back to the survivor circle, back to Jenne’s powerful voice and back where I started 3-Days earlier. And as I left Ford World Headquarters, I looked forward to jumping in the pool, sleeping in my bed and planning for my 2011 journey.