The best thing that happened to me during this dumb battle was my cancer connection group. I have met the most amazing men and women. We have all formed a bond on various social media sites and consider our friendship more like a family. Most of these people I have never had any contact with except on these sites, I won’t meet more than half of them. Yet I cannot imagine my day without being in contact with them. Some rock Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer shirts even though they didn’t have breast cancer just to show support!
I met one lady named Heather Owens, Fighting Fancy we call her. She sent me a bag filled with things to lift a cancer patient’s spirits. Heather has a great thing going because I know so many that have received this bag just when they needed it, mine came the day before my hysterectomy and made me feel like I was not alone, like someone was actually thinking about me that I have never met. It made me feel stronger. Please check all the great things this inspiring young woman has done!
Then came an email from Jill in Massachusetts. “I have an idea” it said. Well you know me and ideas, I told her to call me a.s.a.p. She thought the bags were inspiring, too. We talked and talked and talked some more and came up with lots of ideas. In talking, we found our lives, stories, and values to be very similar and knew this was the making a beautiful relationship. After listening and talking it over with her with excitement she asked if I was in. I said “OH HELL YES I AM”.
We have joined forces to create “
We will be making bags filled with water bottles, pillows, a tee shirt, and little things to lift spirits of those fighting the battle in our own communities! To start off they will be delivered by Jill and I in our communites, but who knows where this will lead.
We have chosen to not just sit by and wait as women and men are still BATTLING breast cancer. Neither one of us is a scientist or has any desire to get into research. We want to help people in our own community, to show them that some random person not only gets it, but is thinking of them.
We are both having a fundraiser in April 11
to raise money for these bags and will continue to have other fundraising events at the same time. We are planning to take “My Journey Through the Lumps” to the Boston area in July. We’ll have community events where children help make the bags and paint rocks with words like COURAGE on them. We will to deliver these bags to our local cancer centers by June.
We are planning on taking donations, 501 is in effect. We are PLANNING so much!
I could not be happier to be working with Jill. She is fabulous! Here is her story…..
Jill rocking the shirts that will be in the "Bravery Bags"
My name is Jill Greblick and in June of 2012 I learned I carry the Breast Cancer gene (BRCA2)
which means I am at high risk (87%) for getting breast cancer and (30%) for getting ovarian cancer. Folks in my position have 3 choices....1.) do nothing, 2.) get s
creened every 6 months or 3) have prophylactic surgeries to get rid of "at risk" tissue. I am not a person to wait and see so I decided to move forward with the surgeries. As a preoperative screening I had a mammogram which showed "something". I had a biopsy and it was all clear. In July, I had a breast MRI which was all clear. On September 24 I had my ovaries removed and the pathology showed atypical cells so the surgeon was glad I had them out. On October 18, I had a bilateral mastectomy directly into reconstruction. Yes, I have implants. I went back to my breast surgeon on November 1 and she walked in the room as white as a ghost (holding my pathology report). The next words out of her mouth were, "Jill, you have cancer." Wow...we didn't expect that...My husband didn't even come with me to the appt. The rest of that appointment was a blur because unless you have heard those 4 words you can't imagine the feeling. Anyway, when you have cancer written in your chart you go to another place medically. Off to my oncologist (Dr. Morganstern) I go. Both he and Dr. Duggan agreed, that we needed to see if the cancer has spread to my lymph nodes (BTW the cancer was a very aggressive form (HER2+).....the fact that in July the MRI was clear and in October I had an invasive form of cancer speaks for itself). On November 26, I head back to the Operating Room for a lymph dissection. 9 nodes were taken out and they were all clear. Dr. Morganstern states several times in our visits that I was very lucky I did the surgeries when I did because in a couple of months later and we could be in a very different place.
While I was going through my surgeries, I took comfort in some items my friends gave me. I loved the fuzzy socks, the pretty necklace, the functional water bottle that all my friends gave me. I also, loved a small pillow (that was made for me by my girlfriends mother) that I could place anywhere to give relief from body parts rubbing against each other. I was using it at 3:00 AM and thought everyone should have some items that bring them a bit of relief while they go through this, and Bravery Bags were born. After going through the hardest thing I have ever been through I realized that I didn't want to go back to my old life....I knew I wanted to give back to others coming after me. I read, Ann Marie's Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer Blog and realized she had the same feelings I did. I emailed and asked her if she wanted to become partners and Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer Bravery Bags were born! The SDBC Bravery Bags will contain items that will bring comfort: fuzzy socks, "chick flick" DVD, a blanket, note cards, a water bottle, a "small pillow" etc. No woman who receives our bags will ever feel alone....