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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

{THE results} Cancer & my pink bow

     
     
     

I am taking this moment, today, the last day of breast awareness month, to wrap up my series from a couple weeks ago on BREAST CANCER AWARENESS! 
Does this mean I am abandoning the topic? Definitely NOT! I have been, continue to be & will ALWAYS be an advocate for breast cancer awareness but wanted to follow up on MY story.
 
If you happen to miss my previous post explaining WHY I am posting about MY results, you can catch up quick by checking out this post.

I apologize for NOT posting sooner as I know a few of you had emailed me because you remembered that I was meeting with a surgeon last Wednesday & were anxious to hear what they said. I have no excuse as to why I didn't update sooner other than . . . . it took a while to actually "sink in" & to wrap my head around the whole experience & just take a minute & spend it in "the moment". I NEEDed that. I did that. But now I am ready to move forward.

So does my story have a happy ending? Do I get to wrap it up with a nice pink bow??
YES!!!!!!!! 
  
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The whole week waiting to meet with the surgeon was BRUTAL . . . .not gonna lie! I tried to keep busy with work & was so grateful for being soooo soooo busy as it kept my mind off the looming date fast approaching. 
I think I did pretty good, for the most part. Didn't lose it too much during that time, cried a few times when I would think about it but I had some wonderful support.

It's AMAZING when you put yourself "out there" & share a story of what you are going through, the amount of people that will offer their support. People that are not afraid to  . . . share "their" story, lend an ear, a shoulder to cry on . . . .some of the people I haven't heard from in years but they were there for me. Other people - my fans here through my blog, took the time to email me & offer support, some left blog comments (I LOVE those & THANK YOU so much for that!!!!!) and others simply prayed for me. ALL OF IT and I mean ALL OF IT!!!! . . . .was so much appreciated and meant the world to me - you have no idea how special those little gestures were!!! They were HUGE to me! xoxo

I was feeling blessed. I was feeling LOVED from all of you & my family & friends. I was starting to be optimistic more & more. Then, the night before, I had to fill out a "book" of paperwork from the surgeon's office with all the medical history on both sides of my family. After several phone calls to some family to fill in the gaps, I found out my great aunt had breast cancer. OH CRAP! All of this time, I thought NO ONE in my family had. So I must admit - started to freak just a little. Then I don't know about you all, but one of my 'guilty pleasures' is watching a show on Tuesday evenings called Parenthood - you may have heard of it? If you watch it, then you can guess where I am going with this . . . .the storyline has one of my FAV characters finding a lump, going to the doctor, etc. and LAST Tuesday - the night BEFORE I have to go - she finds out her results & HAS to have surgery!!!!!!! I CRIED LIKE A BABY! I couldn't believe it & was PRAYING my story would be so different the next day! 
And it was! ;) 

My mom came with me to the surgeon's. We met with him. He did an exam. He looked at my results from my mammogram & ultrasound. He DID confirm that I have a lump that is 3 cm & there IS a mass around it BUT he did CONFIRM that it is NOT cancer!!! I will repeat that - I DO NOT HAVE CANCER!!!!!!

Of course I asked him all the questions that you are thinking right now: "well are YOU sure?", "what IF you are wrong?", "then what the heck is it?", etc.

He said based on all the facts, the info, the conversation we had, etc, it does NOT have any characteristics of cancer. He also said IF I would like some more 'piece of mind' he could biopsy it or he could cut my breast open & remove the whole thing. Honestly, I personally would PREFER to get it out of me for MY 'piece of mind' but not really up for getting cut on right at the moment - ya know what I mean?

So I am going to get another ultrasound/ mammogram every 6 months for awhile - just to be sure it is NOT growing but he said since this was my FIRST mammogram, they need a 'starting point' to compare this lump with & coming in every 6 months will give us that.

What he did tell me was that I have a fibroid condition going on . . . .which did NOT surprise me that it was that because I have dealt with fibroid tumors in some capacity my whole life. But that is as far as I go with that because that is TMI for you! ;) For those that are not familiar with fibroid tumors, they are pretty common for the most part & are not dangerous nor do they need removed if they are not 'bothering you' so I think I will take my chances with this one & just keep an eye on it. If for some reason it starts 'buggin me' - then it will be removed . . .outta here! But until then, I have told it as long as we have no 'issues', it could stay.

Later that afternoon, I finally updated everyone on Facebook about my results. I found it "odd" as I struggled with 'what to say exactly'. It was so bizarre the feelings I had trying to say the right thing. After re-writing it about 50 times, I settled on something like "I do NOT have CANCER. I repeat I do NOT HAVE CANCER!" and then a little something after that. So what was going on in my head? As soon as I hit "post" & sat there & watched as people wrote comments, liked the post, etc.  something happened that I could not wrap my head around for awhile. I sat there at my desk for TWO HOURS & just balled my eyes out!  

I cried because all of the feelings and emotions of the last few weeks came rushing out all at once. I cried at the realization of the severity of the situation and realizing my outcome could have been sooooo different. I cried because I felt GUILTY because I was lucky to get GOOD NEWS & most women don't. I cried because of all the people who took the time to support me through this process. I cried because I was happy. I cried because God had me in His arms the WHOLE TIME & it is such an amazing feeling when you step back & realize that! I cried because I was alive!

I don't know if I will ever know why I went through all of this. Like I mentioned in my last post, maybe it is NOT about me. Maybe it was to share & save just ONE person. I surely hope if nothing else, my experience has made you aware & to NEVER ignore anything that is just not right with you or your body. Listen to it. Get it checked if you need to. Take care of it.

What I will take away from this whole experience is this. Be kind. Be supportive of other women. We ALL go through some CRAP every single day. Some people get a bigger dish of crap some days but the bottom line is be compassionate. Be there for someone else. Be NICE. A simple comment, a text, an email can mean SO MUCH to someone else - knowing that YOU are reaching out to them. I know it did to me. THANK YOU again for all of it. 
 
The other thing I will take away from this is . . . .right here, right now, I promise MYSELF that I will NOT put myself LAST anymore! I WILL take better care of myself because I can NOT be any good to anyone in my family if I am not around. Hopefully we, as women, can ALL start thinking of ourselves a little more & taking better care of ourselves without feeling GUILTY about it!!! We deserve that! We NEED that.  

I THANK GOD that today, on this last day of October, that I am sitting here writing and sharing with you. I THANK Him that I am alive! That I am writing the end of THIS story.  And that it is sporting that little pink bow now! :)









Tuesday, October 23, 2012

{Craft TIP} DIY Soap & Crayon Favors



Howdie all Ghosts and Ghouls!   
It’s Melissa,  from My Party Passion, back again!  This time returning with a fun, easy idea for  Halloween Party Goodie Bags!   
We ALL know that CANDY wins the pole (little racing humor there) at Halloween time; however, did you ever consider stuffing an alternative to candy inside those cute bags? 





I came up with this idea to make homemade soaps and homemade crayons to stuff into those bags instead!  Best part – the children were able to help me!


I saw these cute ice cube trays at the Dollar Tree (last year, but saw them again this year). I thought they would make a cute crayons or soap for the season.




I went to the local craft store; purchased the raw soap cubes and the coloring (we did not add fragrance).




After safely melting the soap in the microwave (follow the directions for safe melting) the children were able to help with the coloring. 




Next step was to pour in the hot colored soap into the molds.  Kids helped with this also.



Now you just have to wait until it hardens, and pop it out!   




Add a cute goodie bag and sticker and there you have it! These were fun to give to older neighbors, grandparents and moms of our friends. 






For creating the crayons – collect all those broken crayons (Crayola works the best we have found) remove paper and put pieces of the broken crayons into the molds.  You can then bake these on a low heat until melted.  Again, wait for them to harden again and pop out.  Cute, easy and affordable goodie for the kids that won’t require a dentist visit !





Hope your Halloween is hauntingly fun!  Until next time friend s- Party On!




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Want to see MORE party ideas? Head on over to Melissa’s blog post over at My PartyPassion! While you are there, join her blog so you can see all of her amazing parties that she throws!

Party Tips Contributor: Melissa Newell


Melissa Newell has been planning and executing parties for over 20 years - parties have always been a passion of hers.

Melissa’s motto is Go Big or Go Home! She celebrates with her children every chance they get - making each day a celebration of Life!

Creativity on a budget and the attention to the smallest of details is what she is known for. Her blog, My Party Passion, highlights all of the parties that she throws!

You can follow Melissa


Friday, October 19, 2012

{My STORY} checking the "girls" & keeping the FAITH

     
     



We continue our series this week talking about
BREAST CANCER AWARENESS!

Today was supposed to be the last post in my series on Breast Cancer Awareness.
It won't be. 
I planned this week to be about awareness & ending it with a story of how I had my FIRST mammogram & encouraging people - if not just ONE person - to get checked themselves. I wanted to take just ONE WEEK to devote to being an advocate for encouraging other women. To honor those we have lost to this horrific disease. To raise awareness & to get people to check their "girls". 
I BEG you to please take this seriously when I say to check the "girls" - it could save you grief, being anxious, frightened & most importantly - save YOUR LIFE!!!

But my story changed this week. I do not have an end to my story . . .yet. 
  
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I have a lump. Yes THAT kind of lump. 
The kind you hope to never find. 

I have had it for over 2 years. Please don't judge. My excuse for NOT getting it checked out looks like this: too busy taking care of everything else . . . husband being laid off & working our butts off these last 2 years to survive . . .NOT having insurance for the last 6 years since being laid off from my old corporate job . . . having the FAITH that I didn't feel 'sick' so it must be nothing . . .then TRUSTING that God was taking care of me since I did not have the means to do so, worrying about 'other things' taking all of my time . . . .I just had to BELIEVE in that. I did. AND still do.

So what changed? Why did I get it checked finally? A little over a month ago, I was dealing with my step-father being BACK in the hospital for what we hope is a final surgery from a horrific motorcycle accident he was in last summer. He is GREAT now. AND then I find out the next day, my BFF from high school was at the SAME hospital having emergency surgery for a brain tumor they just found. Thank GOD they were only 2 floors apart so I could visit both of them easily & spend time with my friend. One week later, I am burying my BFF from high school who was the SAME age as me. I watched her kids cry hysterically for their mother, taken way too soon, at her funeral & was reminded LIFE IS FRAGILE! 
Things like this have a way of making us 'wake up'. Questioning our own mortality. I decided right then & there at that funeral that I was NOT going to leave my little girl without a mother, if I could help it. What if my lump was a ticking time bomb and I'm ignoring it? What if I should have had it checked right away? Then I became SCARED. What if I had just royally screwed up??? 

Good news is . . . my husband got a temporary 'contract' job recently that enabled us to purchase insurance, so I don't even think the ink was dry from the insurance card being printed, we received in the mail & I was calling my doctor. 
I told her what was going on. She asked a lot of specific questions. Characteristics of what I had & what it was doing. Then she said - I think you should come in right away. WHAT?? This was last Thursday & I couldn't come in that day so I had to make an appointment for first thing Friday morning. So for a whole day, I was convinced I was dying. Convinced I had screwed up & was going to leave my little girl behind. You know how we do ourselves . . . think the WORST, beat ourselves up for it, replay all the 'what-if' scenarios in our head, over & over & over & over until we make ourselves NUTS! I cried. ALOT! Then had to find the strength to put my big girl panties on, suck it up and tell myself it will all work out - I have FAITH!

Friday morning. I saw my doctor (who had squeezed me in between appts) & she did a physical exam. She confirmed I definitely have SOMETHING but it did not fit the 'typical' signs of cancer. Wheeewwwwww - boy did I feel better! I was overjoyed (to say the least) - I had not screwed up. YAY! Then she says - well I want you to schedule a mammogram for next week AND an ultrasound so we can confirm what it is or isn't. Ok - here it comes . . .getting a little nervous but still ok. Because my brain told me -'well if she THOUGHT it was cancer, she would be sending me right away.' But my gut was going ' what IF she's wrong???'. {sigh} THE mind games our heads play with us, are so annoying!!!

So yesterday, was my day to get this all taken care of, confirmed I was fine & put this all behind me right? LOL . . . yeah not so much.
I had my first mammogram - which by the way, is NOT scary at all. Geeesh all the horror stories you hear . . . NOT that bad. The tech of course, couldn't say much but she thought they would tell me TODAY if they DID find something to worry about. Ok (sigh of relief)  . . . I can deal with that.

Next up . . .to the ultrasound room. I had been there before. It was the same place I had seen pics of my little girl 9 years ago - it wasn't bad at all. I got to watch her taking pics and then I SAW it! It was a NASTY mass of evil-ness. Honestly what I had been feeling was a hard lump, about the size of a nickel & it would move a little when I would check. The only time it hurt or caused me discomfort was when I would press on it. From what I have been told . . .MOST cancerous lumps will NOT hurt. So that was what I was going with right? Wouldn't you? So when she is taking picks with the ultrasound machine, I expected to just see a dark lump-ish image appear on the screen & that's it. Because ya know, that's ALL I felt! Not the case, it was a much larger area & it was 'mass' looking. Then I got a little nervous. So I asked if she could tell me anything based on what she was seeing. She proceeded to tell me what cancer is typically NOT, how it compared to mine & then rattle off all these other 'long-I-have-no-idea-what-she-is-talking-about' names of things it COULD be. I was so confused. At this point I am thinking I am fine. There IS definitely something going on but maybe not so scary & she DID say that a radiologist will have to look at these closer to see what they think. So I got dressed & she told me to meet her back in the room when I was done & then she was sending these over to the radiologist right away so they can look at them. What? The other person who did my mammogram said that I "might" get some results later on in the day as they were extremely backed up. So when this girl says she's sending them RIGHT NOW . . . .yup . . .you guessed it, fear sets in again! Why does she feel the need to send them right away? Did she see something? What is she NOT telling me? If I was fine,  I would be waiting like everyone else right? 

Then we met back in the room & said she wanted to discuss my "plan". Huh? MY "plan"? What the hell do I need a "plan" for if I am not dying??? LOL - oh our minds do a number on us don't they? . . . . So basically she said that they are recommending that I meet with a surgeon next week so they can get a second opinion on what is going on & they are the best at determining plans for the patients. He will look at everything - my scans & do a physical on me to see what he thinks.  . . . .LOL . . . .ummmmm a surgeon? . . . a 2nd opinon? (I don't remember getting a 1st one but ok) . . . and there's that "plan" being talked about again. {sigh}
We chatted for a little bit & she explained that I shouldn't worry because she doesn't think it's "c" but the radiologist will confirm that as well as the doctors. This team of surgeons is right next door, she will be there too as she works with them, blah blah blah . . . not gonna lie! My mind just left - I hate to say it but I really don't remember a whole lot of what we were talking about AFTER she said to meet with a surgeon next week. I think this is a survival technique for me - who knows!
Here is what I took from this "chat" . . . .I feel like I am in good hands. This office is VERY thorough & these surgeons pretty much know everything about these issues literally from the inside, out. She said that they just do this as they do NOT want anyone falling through the cracks & the more opinions we get, the better for me. Ok seems logical. I am good. Seriously. Wasn't scared - decided to go right to the middle on this & NOT think one way or another! Btw - radiologist confirmed her suggestion of meeting with a surgeon. Again - not sure what that means but here we go!

So as I drove home & was trying to wrap my head around all of this, I couldn't help but wonder WHAT is the reason this is all happening to me?? Have I NOT been through enough in the last year? Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, I do not feel sorry for myself. I do not want pity. I am going to take this experience and USE IT! I honestly thought, like I said at the beginning of this post, that today I would be wrapping up this week all nice 'n tidy with a big pink bow & moving on. But I am not. I will have to keep you updated - which is fine.

Maybe the reason fo me going through all of this has NOTHING to do with me at all. I truly BELIEVE that God uses EVERYTHING - good and bad to see Him at work. Maybe someone reading this (if anyone is- lol) NEEDS to go get checked ASAP and I will convince them to go. I thought about NOT sharing any of this so publicly but figured this blog is about sharing & building relationships & so why not. This is MY blog & I want to share with my friends. Because MAYBE just MAYBE someone along the way will get comfort out of me writing about this. Maybe someone will get their 'girls' checked now after they put it off for so long and this was the 'push' they needed. Maybe someone just needs to know somewhere that we are all human. Life happens to everyone. Good and the bad. But we can choose to get pissed about it or we can use it to do something GOOD with it. Regardless of what happens to me, this will NOT define who I am. I am still Laura. Will it change me? HELL to the YEAH on that, because I feel like I am part of this breast cancer family now - no matter what I find out - cancer or not, to me I will always feel connected & passionate about this topic & this issue because I have FELT that FEAR, the UNKNOWN fear. I am still scared! Can I relate to all of the survivors? No of course not & I am in no way saying I do - just the unknown parts & I hope I never do, as that would mean my story will continue for awhile & although knowing me, I would tell you that story,  . . .I really don't want THAT to be MY story. I really am praying MY story ends next week. After next wednesday when I get the answers to what is going on I hope to tie up the story with that pretty pink bow & move on. 
But until then, please - I am BEGGING you, do yourself a favor and check the 'girls'!!! Not later, make your appointment NOW! Encourage someone you love to do the same & above all us . . . ALWAYS support this cause because you never know when you may be one of them.
To be continued . . . . xoxo




Read the results from my testing here





Thursday, October 18, 2012

{READER ROUND-UP} IDEAS for Breast Cancer Awareness

     

Today I wanted to share some FAB ideas that were sent in from my readers. I thought I would lighten the 'mood' here from this week & take some time to see what the readers are doing as far as fun, creative ideas to cheer someone up, a craft project, etc. to help get the word out!

We continue our series this week talking about
BREAST CANCER AWARENESS!
 

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Alison, from Sparkling Events by Alison Johnson, made these goodies to raise awareness for Breast Cancer! Don't they look delish??




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This is a "Think Pink" yard display sent in from Chris Ann Dale, from Flamingos2Go.  Her company creates these yard displays to support people going through treatment. She has more photos & details about her "Think Pink" program here.

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These adorable flags were sent in from Kristin, from Stampin' Fanatic.  She made these for a family member battling Breast Cancer when they went to see her at the hospital. These would be fantastic to have for a fundraising event or to wave at the end of a fundraiser walk as well. You can visit her & get more info here.



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Keri, from The Sweet Life, designed these cakepops for the 5K run she participated in & is donating a portion of the proceeds this month to Breast Cancer Awareness. 


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Thanks so much to all of the readers who took the time to send in some FUN & creative ways to spread awareness or support Breast Cancer.


Feel free to share!





Wednesday, October 17, 2012

{FREE printables} Breast Cancer Awareness Tags

     
We continue our series this week talking about
BREAST CANCER AWARENESS!
 
photo courtesy of Melissa Newell


I have heard of many people who organize events, provide gifts to people fighting this disease and celebrating a loved one and their successes along the way. So I wanted to provide YOU with another FREEBIE this week to help with that! ;)


Enjoy the FREE Breast Cancer Awareness Tags




These can be used at a fundraising event, attached to a gift & used as a gift tag or printed & strung together to create mini banners - lots of uses & IDEAS you can use these for! 

Simply print them out & get creative!

I'd LOVE to hear your ideas. Or see pictures!
Enjoy! :)


photo courtesy of Melissa Newell

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Click for your Breast Cancer Awareness Tags & ENJOY! 
**by clicking & downloading this subway art you ARE agreeing to the RULES & copyright guidelines below! 


All I ask in return is just ONE thing . . . . 
please if you are not already, become a fan of my FB page, 
Eye Candy Event Details, here or leave me a comment here on the blog letting me know that you downloaded this FREEBIE. 

Either of these lets me know that you were here & you all enjoy these 
& will only encourage me to do MORE for ya'll! =)

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**RULES for FREE DOWNLOADS:**

  • Eye Candy Event Details printables are designed for your PERSONAL USE only.  
  • Please do not re-sell, re-distribute, or claim them as your own.
  •  I encourage you to share with your fans, friends, on your blog and all I ask is to PLEASE, {be kind} & post/ tag a link back to this website so I know who's enjoying them. Thanks - I appreciate it! =)
  • And PLEASE do NOT remove the copyright mark - thanks! 
Feel free to share!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

{PREVENTION is KEY} Breast Cancer Awareness

     
Howdie all – It’s Melissa, from My Party Passion, returning again this month to bring you a special post.  As I would rather be guest blogging about Halloween and Harvest parties, I am blogging about the “other” topic that is on our minds for October




In 2012, it is estimated that there will be over 250,000 cases of breast cancer in women in the United States alone.  It is also estimated that close to 40,000 of these women will die of breast cancer.  In men there will be over 2,000 new cases in 2012 and over 400 of those men diagnosed will die. 




I have one word for you today – PREVENTION!    
PREVENTION is the KEY!   

If you do nothing else this year for YOURSELF, I beg of you to get your annual checkups and mamagrams (check with your doctor to see what tests would be right for you). Self-exams are just as important for early detection.
I give myself a birthday present each year and schedule my mammogram for my birthday.  It’s a day where I spend to myself.  It’s a day when I can proudly say I think of ME and ME alone.  It’s not selfish – it’s the opposite!   I will do everything in my power to see my children grow up and grow old.  I know that someday my daughters will be alive to see the CURE for this disease.  For now, I will educate them on ways to prevent getting it!

On behalf of Team Eye Candy – I repeat that word – PREVENTION!  
 It’s the Key!



Breast Cancer Fact source:  Susan G Koman Site

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Party Tips Contributor: Melissa Newell


Melissa Newell has been planning and executing parties for over 20 years - parties have always been a passion of hers.

Melissa’s motto is Go Big or Go Home! She celebrates with her children every chance they get - making each day a celebration of Life!

Creativity on a budget and the attention to the smallest of details is what she is known for. Her blog, My Party Passion, highlights all of the parties that she throws!

You can follow Melissa





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Have you CHECKED?!
Please join us in encouraging a LOVED one to CHECK the 'girls'  . . . better yet, encourage them to get a MAMMOGRAM! Early detection is KEY to saving a LIFE!
 
If you AGREE with us here, please comment below that you commit to getting checked, to get a mammogram this year AND that you will encourage someone as well to do the same! 
If not, please share this post with someone you LOVE or on your page to help us STAND TOGETHER & encourage people to CHECK 'the girls'! 
**btw - I practice what I preach & I am going in for MY 1st mammogram this thursday - laura ;)