Nov 21, 2014

Falling back into bad habits

Or, learning how to be a lady by allowing him to be a gentleman. Also could be... sometimes you should just let people help you. 

This crazy meme showed up on Facebook the other day and it made me giggle... and then it made me pause. The giggle was because half of the country has been battling unusual snow & coldness this week. While we don't have snow where I live, it has been wickedly cold. I laughed thinking about how many couples were probably going through some version of this conversation right now.

Y'all know my sense of humor is a little twisted. 

But then I thought about it and I put myself and my boyfriend into the scenario. Welp... wasn't funny to me then.

This guy?? I love him... I do. 

I love this cat. Seriously. While he's a morning person... I am not. No really. I am everything possibly OPPOSITE of being a morning person. And this dude? Wakes up with a pep in his step and a smile and a dance. So, if it should happen that I had to be to work hours before he did... I know that I wouldn't wake him up to clean off my car. Because if he was asleep later than me, he's tired. I'd want him to rest.

Wait... what? Did I just say that? Me? Queen of "She who hates snow and cold weather immensely"? Me? Who would rather sit inside for days on end than to go outside in the cold and bad weather? ME? I'd go and do it myself instead of waking up my guy to do it for me?

Well... yeah. I would. **This is all hypothetical and rhetorical because I don't have a car and we do not live together... **

I shared the picture on Facebook and the responses were interesting. Most of the responses (from women and men) were that the guy should get up and clean off her car. As I watched the responses come in, I started feeling bad. Because I honestly felt that if the situation were between me and my guy... I would NOT wake him up or expect him to do it.

But... wait. I think I'm kind of a traditional girl. Sort of. *blink*

Well, maybe not as much as I'd like to believe.

Hell... I don't know. I just know that there are times when gender roles work for me. And there are times when they don't. Generally speaking, I'm all about a guy doing what "guys do" and a girl doing what "girls do". But I run into problems because I don't always do what girls do.

Like... wait for him to open my door. Lawd... I am always catching the eye for that one. And as I thought about it, when I did have a vehicle and was dating... I could not remember ONE time when the man I was dating cleaned off my gar. Or pumped my gas. Or concerned himself in any way with how my vehicle was running. Or ... well, you get the picture. So I don't have a frame of reference for that.

I figured that if it was my car, it must be my business. Even though I grew up with my father cleaning off cars, sidewalks and driveways all my life. Even though I watched my daddy drive my mother (and sometimes me) to work when the weather was bad. When it came to me and my guy... it never entered my mind that he would even want to.

My guy thought it was strange that I even questioned it. He commented that if it were he and I, before I woke up my car would be cleared and he'd be available to drive me to work (or wherever) because I wouldn't need to be out there in bad weather trying to navigate the streets.

Wow. How about that?

As I thought about it for awhile... it reminded me of going through my cancer treatment. I was down... chemotherapy was hard as hell on my body. I was so weak; some days just getting to the bathroom and back into bed was a lot of work. I had to learn through that period of my life to allow people to do things for me. I'm better at accepting help than I was before breast cancer. But this silly Facebook meme reminded me that I'm not quite where I probably should be.

Guess I need to dust off my etiquette books and catch a refresher. I'm obviously slipping in my "being a lady" understanding.

What about you? Do you just do it yourself? Or do you wait for your guy (or someone else) to do certain things for you? Leave me a comment... let me know if I'm the only one out here struggling with falling back into bad habits.

PS. This book The New Basic Black: Home Training for Modern Times -- Revised Edition is a GREAT read for understanding basic etiquette (or home training as its referred to in the black community). I need to get the revised edition. I have the original and I loved it. Be sure to check it out.

Nov 18, 2014

Solange Knowles gave me freedom

Solange Knowles, younger sister to Beyonce, was married this past weekend. She's a striking young woman who has a style that is very uniquely her own. I love that uniqueness about her. Where her sister is more sleek and glamorous in her public style... Solange is more bohemian, more laid back and more ... well, BLACK in hers.

By that I mean she doesn't cringe from wearing her hair in its natural curly, coily state. She doesn't shy away from African fabrics and styles. They are not all that she wears but she has no problem tossing them into her wardrobe when it suits her. She's become a style icon for me...primarily for her hair. Her fro's are epic! I love that she rocks that look so effortlessly. And without apology. I love her style.

At the ripe old age of 28 (ha!) Solange has stepped into her own sense of self it seems. And it has been wonderful to witness from afar. When the girls were younger and Beyonce was the star of Destiny's Child and then an amazing solo star... I felt badly at times that her younger sister was somewhat stuck in her shadow. It seemed unfair. And yet, I know that this is how things go for siblings. (At least that's what I've heard... I grew up an only child... our issues are drastically different)

When I was 28... I decided to stop wearing my hair permed and curled and opted to cut it short and wear it natural. And for the most part, I've been rocking my natural short hair for the past 17 years without fail. But where Solange has eclipsed me is in her strong sense of fashion... and her ability (it appears) to become an icon of her own without copying anyone else's style or forcing herself to fit into whatever the mainstream fascination is at the moment. For example, I've never seen her in a body-con dress even though nearly all female celebrities wear them these days.

Solange does her own thing. 

I love that. That freedom to do what she pleases is incredibly empowering. I hope that people are
noticing this. Especially young girls and young women.

But back to her wedding... She was a stunning bride. In a cape! And that cape, along with the jumpsuit she wore to the wedding gave me LIFE!

I believe that she and her new husband have dated for a couple of years. He is significantly older than she. However, when you see pictures of them together, they seem to simply fit together really well. You cannot see much of a difference between them. There is, instead, this wordless kinship that draws them together and you can almost feel that they truly "get" each other.

When I saw my first glimpses of her wedding photos... I gasped. Literally. A small happy sigh lifted from my mouth. Let me tell you why...

I'm HOOKED on wedding dress shows

I watch bridal shows faithfully every week. I think that when my boyfriend learned about my fascination with bridal dresses that he freaked out a bit at the idea that I was "that girl".  You know, the girl who is pining away for the chance to be a bride. That girl who has been planning her wedding in her mind since she was 12 years old. And while I do want to be a bride one day... I can honestly tell you that I have absolutely NO idea what kind of bride I want to be or what my wedding would look like. The thought of planning a wedding sort of makes me nauseous. But the dresses?? So fabulous and beautiful.

Because I've worn my hair super short for so long, I gave just a little thought to how I would wear my hair on my wedding day. I mean, when you don't have much hair... wearing a veil becomes an issue. As does a flower or any other type of adornment. So, what does a bald bride do? I honestly don't know. I'm not planning to be married any time soon -- nobody has proposed anything over here at all -- but seeing such an unconventional bride gave me just a bit more freedom to think outside the box.

See... I love to watch bridal shows... (Say Yes to the Dress is my favorite) but it isn't so much about me pretending that it is me shopping for a bridal gown... It is the exquisite beauty of the dresses and what they mean to the women who shop for them. It is an emotional purchase and although I do laugh sometimes at the brides (some of them are really ridiculous), I feel drawn into their stories.

Each dress, each wedding is a story. 

 A love story. A family story. In some situations, a story of triumph (cancer survivor stories always make me cry) or a story of perseverance (stories of brides who have been married for many years but never had a wedding also make me cry). Its just beautiful to witness women stepping into that moment of glory. Fully embracing their femininity. Trying to be the most beautiful vision that they can be for their groom. Fulfilling a lifetime desire to just have her day with her guy. Its touching to me.

Seeing Solange do her wedding her way... in no way comparable to her sister. In no way comparable to any other celebrity bride actually. Completely and totally UNIQUELY Solange! I realized that this young woman found her place of peace in the heart of her groom. That's that good love. It may look unconventional but baby.... it works. She is blossoming and it is beautiful.

That good love 

I've got that kind of love now. I did not think it would be possible but it is. And it is so good. I feel myself growing, settling down in my spirit... becoming more me. I didn't think that a relationship could do that for me and yet I feel the growth. If we ever do decide to get married, I can tell you for sure... that wedding might not be like anything you've ever seen before. I don't think we'll ride bicycles to the ceremony... but we will definitely do something that is very much "us"... 'cause watching Solange do it her way reminded me that this world is mine to craft. I don't have to fit anybody else's definition of anything, unless I choose to.

This life after breast cancer continues to unfold for me in wonderful ways. I learn more and more about myself every day. I take lessons from the world around me. It is good. One more day... and I am still very grateful to be here. Tomorrow isn't promised. But today will be grand.

Nov 11, 2014

Why don't we see more images and stories of black women with metastatic cancer?

A random thought... that led me down the rabbit hole

I often share random thoughts that come to me on social media. Typically, these thoughts or questions are things that have been simmering beneath the surface of my life but I don't bother them. Every so often, one of those deeper thoughts will bubble up to the surface of my conscious and just sit there. It usually feels like its demanding an answer but sometimes I guess it just wants some light and air... just to be noticed.

Cleaning up the kitchen one night, I was thinking about some of the really brave and transparent pink ribbon sisters I know (or follow on social media) who are fighting metastatic breast cancer. Their stories about this part of their journey with breast cancer are breathtakingly raw. Now that my active treatment for breast cancer is over, reading other stories keeps me grounded in my advocacy.

And as I was loading the dishwasher... it occurred to me that not one of the sisters I thought about was a black woman. Now, the race of the women didn't bother me. Any story about breast cancer is a valid one. But as a black woman, I am keenly interested in the stories of women who look like me as well.

Realizing that I didn't recall any stories of black metastatic survivors actually made me feel badly for a moment. I felt like perhaps I was letting my sisters down by not plugging in to stories of black women with metastatic breast cancer.

When I got back to my computer, I did a google search for metastatic black women... and I came up with a lot of links to stories and articles about the higher rate of deaths of black women from breast cancer. But I didn't find a personal story or link to a sister who was living with metastatic breast cancer.

So I'm wondering... where are my sisters? 

Black women have a higher rate of mortality from breast cancer. Unless I'm not clearly understanding how a person transitions from breast cancer, I think that means that black women are more likely to have advanced stage or metastatic breast cancer. So where are those images, those stories? The women that I follow online and have met in person, have been fighting their stage IV cancer for a number of years. Is the lack of images and stories of black women fighting metastatic breast cancer because we transition faster, or we're more private?

There is a difference between "house" business and "street" business

It is a cultural taboo for black people to speak publicly about some personal issues. Health issues, especially health issues that strike women primarily, are one of those things that we typically don't talk about to others. We're changing that taboo slowly but surely... but I wonder whether that long-standing tradition to "keep house business private" is keeping some of our metastatic sisters from feeling comfortable sharing their story with the world.

Don't get me wrong... I am proud of the many black women I see regularly and know personally who are sharing their stories of surviving breast cancer. I had the fortunate blessing of participating in a wonderful breast cancer promotion with several fabulous and fascinating black breast cancer survivors recently. I think the work we did that day creating beautiful and heartfelt videos sharing our stories of our journey and our survival was beyond great.

We have to talk about metastatic breast cancer too

But... as many of my white metastatic sisters have taught me, there is more than one narration to this story about breast cancer. Yes, we all fight and we all struggle to win against this disease that takes so much from so many of us. And yes, breast cancer is more treatable today than it has been in years past. But that treatable portion of the conversation only applies to those of us who are diagnosed stage 0 through stage 3. The earlier that breast cancer is identified and diagnosed, the more likely that it will be treatable. We aren't talking enough about stage 4, metastatic breast cancer. And those stories are valid and necessary for all of us to understand. Everyone doesn't survive breast cancer and then shoot off to run marathons and open non-profits. That's just not the reality of all of my pink ribbon sisters.

So I return to the top of the rabbit hole. If black women are more likely to die from breast cancer, that means that there have to be black women in the world who are metastatic. Can anyone tell me where I can find those sisters and learn their stories?

Breast cancer does affect different races and cultures in different ways. Black women are more likely to have very aggressive and hard to treat/stop breast cancer. We are more likely to have triple negative breast cancer (the most aggressive subtype of breast cancer). We are also more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage than our white sisters, which also leads to difficulty in treatment. The disparity is real. Black women are not diagnosed at the same rate as white women, so I do understand why their are more images and stories of white women with breast cancer in general and metastatic breast cancer specifically.

I'm just wondering where my black metastatic sisters are. I want to see their faces and learn their stories too. Am I wrong for thinking this way?

For more information, please check out these links.

See: Black women have a higher risk of dying of breast cancer
See: Why black women die of breast cancer
See: Understanding Triple Negative Breast Cancer
See: The Unique Perspective of Illness Among Women With Metastatic Breast Cancer According to Race and Income

Nov 10, 2014

Do one act of kindness: Take a meal to a friend or loved one

Tis the season... 

Do you know someone currently fighting breast cancer? Or who is a survivor? If you do, I want to suggest an act of kindness that can really go far with showing that person how much you love them: Take them a meal. Honestly.

A small act of kindness goes a long way.

I was having a conversation recently with my mother about the period when I was in treatment for breast cancer and my father was recuperating from his brain aneurysm (at the same damn time)... and she was explaining how stressed out she was. It really broke my heart to hear her discuss how afraid she was for us and how hard she was trying to help both of us at the same time.

One of the things she did was to cook for us every day. Now, it may not seem like a big deal but my mom is retired and cooking daily can become a chore under the best of circumstances. But when your husband of 40+ years is fighting to come back from major health incident and your only child is fighting an advanced cancer... your mind is reeling from the enormity of the situation. You're upset, you're scared and you're trying to be everything they need. Now on top of that, you're the only person there to care for them. That's a huge burden.

I'm still really sad that my mother had to go through all of that. Sigh.

The work of a caretaker is hard. Very hard. 

She mentioned that having close friends and family bring healthy, home cooked meals helped tremendously. Her goal was to ensure that we ate enough to sustain our healing and to be sure that what we ate was healthy and good for our bodies.


There were days when I was too tired to eat, or nothing tasted good so I didn't want to eat. Chemotherapy has the lovely side effect of altering your taste buds so that things just taste awful sometimes. You can also get mouth sores and extreme mouth dryness that make eating one of the last things you want to do. So, there were days that I didn't eat at all and that hurt her feelings because she was trying to do her part to help me get better.

So, those home cooked healthy meals were a godsend for her. One less day that she had to stand in the kitchen and try to figure out what she could prepare that both of us would be able to eat and enjoy.

Have you heard about the The PanHandler Bag? Genius!

I recently discovered this great bag that you can use to tote prepared food around. Its called the The PanHandler Bag and it is FANTASTIC! Seriously. This thing is amazing. It comes in two sizes, and its large enough to hold a pan of lasagna. If you're a cook who takes food to events like church potlucks or to family's house for Thanksgiving... you'll definitely appreciate the size of these bags. AND... it zips down so that you can just slide the food in.

*Genius right?*

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and this bag will come in handy throughout the holidays. Definitely consider grabbing one of these fantastic bags (you can even have it monogrammed) and then use it to bring holiday cheer to someone who may need a little help to get through the holidays.

And if you're not a great cook... you can always go to a good restaurant or bakery and pick up something delicious and transport it in your handy bag.

Features and Benefits

  • Reinforced straps and comfy handles
  • Carry up to four stackable pans with lids
  • Shopping bag style keeps one hand free
  • Patented, Zip-down back design for easy pan loading
  • Roomy front pocket for carrying utensils, napkins, pot holders, condiments, etc…
  • Keeps food hot for up to three hours
  • Folds flat for easy storage
  • Use the PanHandler Bag for traveling with food to family functions, tailgating events, picnics, office parties, potlucks, catering events, church socials and casserole swap events.
  • Two convenient sizes
  • Reusable
  • Makes a great gift for birthdays, bridal showers, Mother’s day, house warming, hostess gift, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other gift-giving holidays
  • Removable bottom insert for easy cleaning.  Wipes clean with a damp cloth
  • Monogramming is available for personalizing your PanHandler Bag at

Don't tell anybody but... I used to love to cook. I don't cook as much as I used to (cuz I'm pretty much tethered to my computer these days) but I did put a little bug in my boyfriend's ear that I wanted one of these bags. I really think they are just amazing. LOL. I think he's hoping that if I have a bag, I'll bring more food over to his place.

I just might. Shhhh...

**PS. I didn't receive any compensation or freebies for this. I just thought that it was a good share. I did use affiliate links which means that I will receive a few pennies if you choose to purchase the bag via some of the links on this article.. 

Nov 8, 2014

Update on growing my hair

Update on growing my natural hair | My Fabulous Boobies

Growing my post-chemo hair is a bit trickier than I thought it would be

About 2.5 weeks ago, I shared that I was on a mission to grow my hair out. Read: I want to grow my hair...but first these edges.

Well, this is a quick update. 

I have noticed very little growth. It might be there but I can't see it yet. I have been scouring youtube for videos about what to do with my natural hair. It seems that my hair texture has changed... once again. It is more tightly coiled than it used to be.

Immediately following chemotherapy, my hair grew back straight and very soft. Very much like baby hair. From there it had a soft wave and then a solid curl pattern. But still very soft; very very soft. Over the years, it has changed textures a few times... getting more coily and curly each time. It is still soft - if I don't put anything on it - and pretty fragile. But now, it is really tight. I'm not used to so much shrinkage.

I'm not sure how to handle the tightness now. At any rate, that's why I can't tell how much its grown in these two weeks. But I have been drinking my water, taking my biotin and multi-vitamins and keeping up with the LOC method of keeping it moisturized.

LOC method = Liquid, oil, cream. 

After reading a bit and watching a few youtube videos, I decided to create my own liquid to use regularly on my hair.

My recipe is simple:  water, leave-in conditioner and tea tree oil. I don't measure anything but its just a few drops of tea tree oil, maybe 1 ounce of conditioner and water to fill my bottle. That's it.

I use just a light spritz of liquid to make it easier to manipulate. My hair is not dripping wet when I do my LOC. It is clearly wet, but not soaking wet. I then put just a bit of oil on my hands (about the equivalent of a quarter-sized amount) and rub it through. I finish with a creamy hair dressing and then I either wrap it up in a silk scarf or I brush coil it and then wrap it. Depends on whether or not I plan to leave the house.

The silk scarf has really been helpful. I don't see as much breakage on my pillow and its not as frizzy and crazy looking when I wake up.

**And the boyfriend doesn't mind my scarf at all. He said it was sexy. I think he was lying... but I'll take it. **

Letting go of biotin

I was taking 5000mg of biotin daily. I was told by a facebook friend that using 10,000mg would speed up my hair growth. I didn't think that I had an issue with biotin because I never experienced the breakouts that some women have complained about. However, after about a week... I started having to run to the bathroom all the time. It seemed like I was going to the bathroom every 10 minutes honestly. At first, I thought it was just because I was drinking my water and I didn't think much about it. But after a couple of days, I started wondering. So I stopped the biotin but kept everything else the same... and now my urination seems more normal.

Not sure if there is a connection or not... but I'm just going to cut back on the biotin. I think instead of 5000mg daily, I might do 5000mg per week. I've read a lot of information about biotin, and nothing I've read has been terrible. I just want to be sure I'm not doing too much.

...and I "dusted" my ends... gasp!

Forgot to mention that I also dusted the ends of my hair the other day. Just a really quick trim. Nothing deep or major. But I also learned somethings with that.

  • One, hairdressers are paid for a reason. 
  • Two, trimming your own hair is not that much fun. 
  • Three, it does help my hair feel better. 

I wasn't thrilled with seeing the little curls on the bathroom counter but I will admit that my hair feels better and is a bit less frizzy.  One day soon, I'll have to go and have it professionally trimmed but I want it to grow a bit more first. (I'm afraid I'll tell the stylist to break out some clippers and buzz away).

That's my update. I don't have any pics to share yet but next update I'll be sure to take a few. I guess I'll do a post with all of the different products I'm using. Yeah... that might be cool.

Take care everyone. Talk to you soon.


Here's some information on the LOC method:  The LOC routine every curly should know (Curly Nikki)

A little information on dusting: The art of dusting/trimming natural hair (Curly Nikki)

Nov 1, 2014

1st MFB Holiday Guide Coming Soon...

Are you ready for the holidays yet??

*Cue the happy dance*

This is how I feel when I think about the holidays! This is the joy before the realization of all the work that it takes to make the holidays POP!

But right now?? I am here for it.

So, in honor of my current state of joy and bliss... I've decided to create the:

MFB Holiday Guide, for the clueless and gift-challenged among us. 

Don't be disturbed by the title. That's a work in progress. But it is what's on my mind. I'll be honest, buying gifts, good gifts, is hard in the best of circumstances. However, if you are budget-conscious (who isn't these days) or if you're having difficulty trying to figure out what to get your favorite breast cancer survivor (or other really nice person in your life)...

I'm here to help!

Disclaimer:  I am not the shopping guru. I promise you, I'm not. I will melt down at the mall in a minute. Don't believe me? Ask my man about that time, early in our dating.... when I LOST. IT. at the mall. Actually... don't ask him. He's still traumatized. Poor thing. (I'm still apologizing for that...)

Anyhoo... Nic Nac is not Queen of the Mall. But I can sometimes get it right. And even better, I am often approached by companies and small businesses to test and review their products. Some of them are great. Some of them are not. I will only recommend the great ones. I promise.

So, I'm in the final stages of creating the first annual "My Fabulous Boobies: Holiday Gift Guide". I want you to have it as soon as possible so that you can prepare yourself for Black Friday... or Cyber Monday (whichever is your preference).

It will be fabulous... cuz this is the Fabulous Boobies blog after all. It won't be full of cheesy boobie joke gifts either (though those do make me giggle, a lot). I will have it available as a downloadable document with interactive links (where possible) just to make the shopping experience easier for you, as well as a normal blog post.

Now... this is my FIRST TIME creating a holiday guide. If its not as fancy-schmancy as your other favorite blogger (who isn't me)... well... try it anyway! LOL. I'm trying to make it great and bring you gift ideas that you may not have considered. It will be cool.


OFFER:  If you are a small business owner and you want to submit something for consideration... hurry, hurry, hurry! Send me an email right away [Click here to email Nic Nac] and let me know what you've got. If you can get it to me within a few days, it might make the guide.

In the subject line please put:  MFB Holiday Gift Guide Submission.
You really don't want it to get lost in my inbox.

That's it. Hold on! I've got some really cool gift ideas for you to consider.

Oct 31, 2014

Paying it forward

A political science professor, a shower placard and a story saved my life

I've told the story about how I discovered my breast cancer by giving myself a breast self-exam one day as a distraction many times, and I'm sure to share it many more. It is one more story in this vast world about breast cancer.

Sometimes I mention that I had gotten into the habit of doing BSEs from my favorite college professor. She was a breast cancer survivor and she shared her stories about her journey with breast cancer with me and my classmates often. At this small women's college, where classes in my major rarely had more than 10 students... there was an intimacy among us that I had never experienced in a classroom setting before. That intimacy was, for me, like a rain shower on parched earth. It brought so much of who I am today to life.

My MVC memories

Dr. Maureen Casamayou was my political science professor at Mount Vernon College. She was the first woman I had ever spoken to directly about breast cancer in a personal way. I was a young woman in my early 20's when she brought this topic to my life. I had absolutely no concerns whatsoever about breast cancer. I thought it was something that happened to "old" people. Of course, in your 20's... everybody in the world seems old to you. Dr. Casamayou was older than me, very accomplished, very smart and full of life though. She wasn't "old"... just older. Didn't seem like the women I associated with being sick. She seemed to personify elegance and intellect and independence. I loved her for that. I also loved her because she was a professor who did not give up on her students. She did not let us slide by... or slip away. She saw potential and opportunity in each of us. And she spoke that life into us in each class, with each assignment.

Mount Vernon College was a magical place for me. Dr. Casamayou was integral in making it so. It would take too long to try to explain who I was before I arrived at Mount Vernon but I can tell you that the young woman who left that campus was confident, capable and ready to take on the world. A lot of that is due to a feisty professor who challenged me to be great, to write well, to be unafraid and unashamed to know or not know something. The freedom to be smart without judgement or name-calling was a tremendous blessing. The freedom to not be the smartest one in the room was too.

She taught me to own my story unapologetically

It deeply saddened me to learn that my pink ribbon sister passed away earlier this month. On my mental list of things to do, I had hoped to talk to her one more time and share with her how much she impacted my life and how often I think about the day she talked with a bunch of young female college students and told us how important checking our breasts was. How important that it was that we start checking them early so that we knew what our breasts felt like. She told us to get comfortable with our bodies and she gave us all shower placards that demonstrated the steps to conducting a BSE.

I still have my shower placard today. It hangs in my shower at all times. I think of her whenever I notice it. The irony of life is that the radiology center that created the shower placard she gave me years ago, was the same center I used when I had my first mammogram after finding my lump and the same center where I had my first sonogram where I saw the tumors in my breast for the first time. Sometimes life will bring you full circle.  [Read: And then there was Freddie... ]

There is power in the story

In discussing her passing with my boyfriend, I was weeping at the loss and mentally chastising myself for not pushing harder to find her after I was diagnosed. I felt like I let her down. I really wanted her to know that she saved my life. Her story saved my life.

That wonderful boyfriend of mine told me that he was proud of me because I had taken the gift she gave me and had chosen to pay it forward. Her story saved my life because she was unafraid to share it. She gave it to me, to all of us, and I am so grateful. And now I realize that I too have been paying it forward because there is a gift of life in the story.

Paying it forward

I have no way of knowing whether or not anyone who reads this blog will ever be diagnosed with breast cancer or have to cope with a loved one with breast cancer. I believe that clearly understanding that breast cancer is real, and that it strikes women of all ages, races and socio-economic backgrounds moves the mindset that breast cancer happens to "them"... to breast cancer could happen to me.

Thank you Dr. Casamayou. The gift of your story and your concern for my health, long before I ever realized it would be important, have blessed me tremendously. Because of you, I pay it forward and give my story to others.

Thank you. I hope that I make you proud.

See: Obituary of Dr. Maureen A. Casamayou