No expiration date: A tribute to our angel, Krysti Hughett

No expiration date: A tribute to our angel, Krysti Hughett

Last night, I lay in bed and couldn’t sleep. I didn’t know that my dear friend, Krysti Hughett, drew her last breath just an hour before. Maybe my body and soul could sense it. Krysti passed away on July 7, after more than 10 years of beating the odds of very aggressive stage IV inflammatory breast cancer. She accomplished such an overwhelming task with her determination, incredible intelligence, and tender love and support she  gave to others. Yet I can feel her presence as if she was still here. And in a way she is. It is no coincidence I met Krysti while she was helping others. It was about six years ago, and Krysti was leading a Young Survival Coalition (YSC) support conference call for stage IV breast cancer survivors. I was fairly new at the...

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My “Not to Do” List

My “Not to Do” List

Just returned from another scan to see how my cancer is behaving. I’ll let you know what we find out in next week’s post. Since I have a lot going on this week getting ready to leave for Nashville for the Survivorville conference for women with cancer, I am going to recycle an “oldie but goodie” post. For those of you attending, I am excited to be presenting my essay for the My Second Act performance on Saturday night, as well as presenting a breakout session for metastatic survivors called The Buck Stops Here: The Power of Being Your Own Advocate. If you’re attending, please stop by and say hi. I’d love to meet you! Here’s my post written back in 2013: I am learning to stand up for myself in several ways. I find that I...

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Talking about Mets in NY — No not the baseball team

Talking about Mets in NY — No not the baseball team

I’ll make this quick because I am so busy this week. I just returned from NYC where I was a participant of the Novartis’ Advanced Breast Cancer Advisory Panel. This is the second time I have done this, and I have to say I’m very impressed with the company’s interest in listening to the views and needs of those of us with metastatic breast cancer. It was an interesting discussion with some powerhouse bloggers and advocates. I felt honored to be among them. They gave us plenty of time to express our views/experiences. One question prompted us to share bad experiences with doctors, and we all had our stories to tell. It was agreed that doctors need to spend more time with patients and be more empathetic. And if a patient isn’t...

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Developing cancer cures hits home for researcher

Developing cancer cures hits home for researcher

Irony (noun): a situation that is strange or funny because things happen in a way that seems to be the opposite of what you expected. – Miriam-Webster Well, sometimes it’s not funny at all. It was a little ironic that I spent my career in healthcare (public relations) and developed breast cancer. Even more ironic is to actually be a cancer researcher looking for a cure, only to be diagnosed with advanced cancer. That’s what happened to Tom Marsilje, who learned he had colorectal cancer (CRC)– the exact same day a major conference announced the positive clinical trial results of a (now FDA-approved) cancer drug he helped discover. Tom contacted me after reading my first book, From Incurable to Incredible, and kindly listed it as one of his...

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The Grace Project: A portrait of beauty, courage in face of cancer

The Grace Project: A portrait of beauty, courage in face of cancer

“Mom’s posing naked!” my husband Mike jokingly shouted out to my daughter like a bratty little brother. Those are three words I never think I’d hear, but it was true on some level. This weekend I was inspired by a photographer and group of women who bravely bared their mastectomy and lumpectomy scars for an amazing exhibition called The Grace Project, led by award-winning photographer Isis Charise. Inspired by the iconic Venus de Milo and the journey of a close friend who passed away from breast cancer, Isis’s mission is to help breast cancer survivors feel beautiful and whole because, not in spite of, losing parts of themselves to cancer. At a special cocktail hour and exhibit, which also featured wonderful author and screenwriter...

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It was seven years ago today

It was seven years ago today

Today is World Cancer Day, and it also marks the seventh anniversary of when cancer changed my world. I remember vividly that cold day sitting in  my breast surgeon’s waiting room, which was decorated for Valentine’s Day. I finally wised up and asked to see her a month earlier than my regular checkup because of the lump in my armpit that had been causing me pain and concern. I don’t know what I was thinking, going to the appointment alone. I must have been in denial just like I was the first time about five years earlier when I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. But there I sat in the exam room as my doctor gave me an excruciating sad look and told me she thought it was a recurrence. We quickly scheduled surgery, then follow-up scans...

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