One of the breast cancer blogs I have followed for years is Nancy’s Point. Nancy Stordhal, the author of this blog, is very well known in the breast cancer world and posts frequently about her experience with breast cancer, her mother’s experience with breast cancer and how she deals with the grief over the loss of her mother and father. Nancy’s blog is a wonderful resource for anyone going through breast cancer, so if you’re looking for guidance for yourself, visit Nancy’s Point for lots of good information.
Nancy is doing something called a Blog Hop, where others in the world of breast cancer blogs participate by answering several basic questions about themselves so that we can get to know others in the blogging world and share our stories. Here are my responses to her questions.
1. Who are you? If applicable, share anything you want about your cancer (type, stage, when diagnosed, whatever.) Share something about yourself such as where you live, the name of your blog and its “mission,” a challenge you have faced or are facing now, or whatever you want.
I’m a proud mother, wife, marketing consultant and breast cancer advocate. I had Stage 1 Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer in February of 2010 and went through 4 treatments of Adriamycin/Cytoxan, 12 treatments of Taxol and a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. It was the most frightening thing I’ve ever experienced in my life and I began to blog about it shortly after as I wanted to share what I had learned with others who might be going through something similar. My blog is called My Left Breast, because that’s where I first found my original lump which led to all the rest.
2. Have you ever participated in a blog hop before?
Not that I recall. But my memory isn’t as good as it once was…. post chemotherapy!
3. What’s your favorite sort of blog post to write and/or read – personal story, informational, how to, controversial, political, opinion, rant or other?
I have lots of different types of blogs I follow but most are personal and speak to the blog writer’s personal story.
4. Describe yourself in three words. Yes, just three!
Optimistic, energetic and inquisitive.
5. Name three of your favorite books from your youth (whatever age that means to you) that had an impact on you.
The three books I loved the most growing up were Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Both my parents were English majors in college and my mother was the chairman of a High School English Department so there was always a lot of classic literature around our home, which I consumed voraciously. I later became an English major in college and read many more books, and I continue to love to read as I’ve gone through various phases in my life.
Books have always helped me get through the hard times in my life and I found them to be very helpful when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, as I read every book I could get my hands on about breast cancer so that I was prepared for what lay ahead of me.
6. What are you reading right now, or what’s on your to-read list for when you have time?
I’m about 200 pages into The World as It Is by Ben Rhodes, Obama’s speech writer, which I’m finding fascinating. I also recently finished Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, a beautifully written multi-generational story about a Korean family. I also recently finished Ordinary Grace: A Novel by William Kent Krueger which was a moving story about a family in Minnesota during the early 1960’s. I loved the characters in this book, especially the father. I read a lot; fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, self-help books, mysteries, pretty much all genres.
7. What’s your favorite dessert of all time?
I love ice cream more than any other type of dessert. My favorites are Haagen Daz Coffee and Rum Raisin. I could eat a gallon at one sitting, they are so delicious and creamy.
8. Tell us about a special pet you have, had, or would like to have. (Never wanted a pet, that’s okay too.)
When I was growing up, we were never allowed to have a pet so when I got older I decided we would get pets when my kids were old enough to help take care of them. When the kids were about 8 and 10, we got our cat, Maverick and then two years later we got Tucker, our Pembroke Welsh Corgi who I love inordinately! Tucker stayed by my side throughout my breast cancer treatments and surgeries, sitting, sleeping, hovering over me all day, every day. He seemed to know something was wrong and was extremely gentle and patient with me over the year and a half of treatments. He’s very special to me and I will miss him dearly when he is gone. He’s now 11 years old and since corgis typically live 12-14 years, I’m spoiling him these last few years as I want his last years on this earth to be amazingly happy ones.
9. What’s something people don’t know about you and might be surprised to learn?
Most people probably don’t know that when I was 19 years old and a junior in college, my parents kicked me out of the house and disowned me after finding out that I was sleeping with my college boyfriend. It was a scary time that ultimately shaped my life so that I became the very independent woman I am today. I subsequently reconnected with my parents and became very close to them, on my own terms when I was about 26. You can read all about what happened, and how I ultimately came to forgive them, here.
10. Do you believe healthcare is a privilege or a right?
I believe healthcare is a right that everyone in the world, especially those of us here in the United States, one of the richest countries on the planet, should have access to.
11. What’s your favorite thing about blogging and/or reading blogs?
I like reading about how other people deal with issues and problems in their own lives. I like peeking into other’s lives, and seeing how we are alike, even with our differences. It makes me feel hopeful and optimistic for the world when I realize how much we all have in common.
12. What’s something you really suck at?
I’m pretty darn terrible at ALL sports. There is not a single sport I am good at or have mastered. Weirdly enough, I’m married to a natural born athlete and both my kids are very good athletes as well. Go figure.
13. What’s something you’re pretty good at?
I’m a good mother. I’ve also had a very successful career and own my own business. I’m a pretty good cook and I’m a great friend.
14. How do you escape from cancer (or life in general) worries?
I escape from the fear of a return of my breast cancer by spending time outside in nature, taking long walks. I also travel as often as I can, both in the US and around the world, and I intend to continue to keep checking off the countries on my travel bucket list for as long as I can still get around! I also meditate and practice deep breathing techniques which are very helpful for me in reducing stress.
If you’re a blogger, please feel free to join in the blog hop. If you’re a reader, please go to some of the other participating blogs to learn from other women who also write about their experiences with breast cancer.
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