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Home About Me The Other Side of the Pink Ribbon

The Other Side of the Pink Ribbon

At the end of this post, is a photo of my mastectomy scar.

If you don’t want to see it, stop now.

Breast Cancer, it’s more than pink ribbons, pink t-shirts, cute memes “save the tatas,” fun-runs and free screenings.


Invasive Ductal Carcinoma


3 tumors
Stage IIb
Er/Pr +
Her2 –


And Ductal Carcinoma in SITU speckled throughout
the breast over 8 cm.


With a breast cancer diagnosis,
life becomes mammograms, ultrasounds, X-rays, MRIs, CT scans,
biopsies, IVs, blood tests, port surgery,




chemo, endless doctor appointments, watching my blood counts,


nausea, fear, worry, fatigue, anger, sadness, depression, medication, anxiety,
insomnia, pain, mouth sores, trouble swallowing, ringing in ears, baldness,
digestion problems, needles, loosing fingernails and toenails, neuropathy,
skin problems, rashes, runny nose,
lose of taste buds, self image, chemo brain, overwhelmed, naps, hot flashes, amputation, drains, scars…
this is what a breast diagnosis brought into my life, and so much more.


It has also brought friendship, vulnerability, surrender,
intimacy, peace, encouragement, prayers,
hope, patience, determination, trust, perseverance,
bell ringing, fierceness,




They aren’t kidding when you take on the label breast cancer survivor.




I have been in a war, a true battle for my body, my emotions, my thoughts. A race to see if the chemo would kill me or the cancer first.


I have faced my mortality, thought about my family without me, my husband without me,
looking now at a life with a constant fear of recurrence.  I will never be back to normal.


I am a warrior! I have the scars to prove it.


The chemo took away all the cancer.
The results after the mastectomy show no cancer in what was removed. No lymph node involvement, clear margins.


What relief, joy, hope, freedom to live again, but still fear. A lot of fear.


Now I get a “fill” every other week. A needle jabbed into just above my scar to fill the expander until it “matches” my other side, then I will have one more surgery to exchange the expander for an implant. The docs recommended no radiation, which I am grateful.


My healing should go much faster without that last treatment. I doubt I will have nipple reconstruction, it doesn’t make sense to build a nipple that will not function as a real nipple and will always be covered with padded bras, because who wants to always have one headlight on! I may consider a nipple tattoo.


But I now look forward to healing and having a fun life again.


I have no idea what this new normal will become, but I’m anxious to get started with it.


If you have read this far, I thank you and plead with you to not put off mammograms, Go!  Get your scans, get your pap done. Do it!


1 in 8 women will get breast cancer this year. 1 in 8.  Do you know 7 other women, of course you do? One of  you will get it.  So catch it early, I pray none of you reading this will have to go thru what I’ve gone thru this year. It’s been the hardest thing in my life.
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4 Comments  comments 

4 Responses

  1. Sara

    What a moving read. You’re a blessing to this world my dear friend…a true warrior! Proud of you! Thank you for courageously baring your soul in sharing this life-changing experience so intimately to spread awareness and hope.

  2. Silvia

    I am proud of you for sharing your journey with us, people like to ignore the other side of cancer, which is in fact the only side for cancer patients who experince the treatment and fight for their lives. No one blames them, but in these days everyone should know about that in order to take care of own health. Thank you for fighting and staying alive, we love you so much.

  3. Jen

    Yes, I’m all for the pink stuff and bringing awareness is needed. It’s just so easy to only think of breast cancer in terms of the ribbon. Thanks for reading!

  4. Jen

    Thanks for reading and I do appreciate your friendship!