June 6, 2014

Fashion for Life - My Story

The Fashion for Life (FFL) event starts tomorrow June 7 and will run until June 20. This event is Second Life’s longest-running and most successful fashion fair. All donations go to SL Relay for Life, benefiting the American Cancer Society.  Fashion For Life runs across 10 sims. The theme this year is Wanderlust - a reflection of Relay For Life's theme Journey To A Promise. Over the 10 sims, you will find 150 stores, gacha areas and a region wide passport game.  I am priviledged to be a blogger for FFL and will be showing you items that will be available, some are exclusive to this event.  You can read more about FFL here.  Landmarks will be provided to each store location as I blog items. 

Fashion for Life is near and dear to my heart as I am a cancer survivor!  This is my story.

I Fought the Battle and Won the War!

It was July 2004, I was on the floor using a "noodle" (those long swim thingys that help you keep afloat in the water) as my massage therapist suggested, for getting knots out of my neck.  As  I was getting up,   and I don't know why, I brushed my hand against my right side under my armpit and felt a lump.  Of course, It concerned me.  You see, cancer runs rampant in my family.  My mother was one of 8 siblings, 7 died of some sort of cancer, including my mother from lung cancer in 1999.  On my father's side, there were 6 siblings and three died of various types of cancer, including my father of pancreatic cancer in 2007, three months after his diagnosis.  Both of my sisters (I have no brothers) had breast cancer.  So I called my OB/GYN doc to make an appointment.  It took a couple of days to get in - he examines the lump and says I don't think it is cancer but refers me to a surgeon for a biopsy.  I knew the surgeon at a clinic we both worked at previously and trusted him completely.  So a few days later after the biopsy, I call his office, the receptionist says " let me check the results for you" and puts me on hold.  She comes back in a few minutes and says "the doctor wants to see you".  I know that isn't good news.  I go see him that day, his office is on another floor in the same building I worked.  He tells me with tears in his eyes that I have breast cancer - two lumps have been found -one on my right side, where I felt the lump, and another under by right breast.  I think my first reaction  is "why NOT me" due to the history in my family.  My older sister (I am the middle child) was diagnosed in 1992 (and a survivor up until her heart attack in 2012 when she died) .  My younger sister was diagnosed with breast cancer the year before (2003).  When I go to tell my dad he has this "look" of shock about him as his two other daughters had cancer  and his wife (my mother) died of cancer.  
So,  chemotherapy started about a month after my diagnosis.  I started to lose my hair after the first treatment.  I kept a journal of my "journey", writing down what was taking place and how I felt.   I guess you could say I was lucky as I think I "got sick" one time.  At that time I was still working and very fortunate that I was able to work, I didn't have to quit.  I did have a lot less energy though.  Things like even making the bed made me tired.  After chemo came radiation treatments - 35 in all.  Five days a week for 7 weeks.  I think I timed how long it would take for my treatment - less than a minute.  Took me longer to get undressed and redressed than the whole treatment!  After my last radiation treatment, I celebrated by going to the mall and buying myself some diamond stud earrings!  I didn't like wearing wigs so I would wear scarves on my head and when driving home after that, I took my scarf off and drove down the road, bald head and all.  I felt liberated and glad this was over!  
After all treatment was done, an MRI was performed and I was cancer free!!  This year I will celebrate 10 years as a survivor and have never felt better!!  
Early detection is key!  Get those mammograms, get those wellness checks, do what it takes to be healthy and be a survivor!  And support the American Cancer Society in any way you can, you could help save a life!
Fashion for Life Champions

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