Monday, October 1, 2012

Scars by Mary E. Carpenter

Today begins breast cancer awareness month, so I would like to share with you something that a very dear friend wrote. I couldn't say it any better myself. Thank you Mama Mary for allowing me to share this here. xoxo

Scars © Mary E. Carpenter

Walking down the street, no one would know that I am the face of breast cancer. It is not obvious that I have been bald twice, stuck with needles too numerous to count, had multiple cancer killing toxins coursing through my veins, become the “chubby little woman” as Britt referred to me . . . from steroids to prevent life threatening reactions to those toxins, spent hours vomiting in bathrooms, bushes, buckets or wherever I could find a place because I intended to continue living my life, been injected with radioactive glucose, dye, blood, and had so many x-rays and scans that I’m surprised I do not glow in the dark even though Bayley thinks it would be cool. It is not obvious to those that pass me in the aisles at the grocery store, parents that greet me in my children’s classrooms or on the soccer field, or co-workers that greet me in the hall as we pass one another during the course of our workday. The scars beneath my clothes from seven surgeries that were not choice, but choosing life, are not evident to the outside world.

But I am the face of breast cancer. I am a mom, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a cousin, a friend. I am every woman. I am not a case of breast cancer or a scar. I am the 1 in 8 American women that will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. If I lived in Europe, I would be the 1 in 10 that is diagnosed with breast cancer before age 80. I am 1 of the 11,100 young women under the age of 40 in the United States that was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. I am one of the many young women that heard these words from a doctor . . . “You are too young for breast cancer.”

I wake up every day and see the scars that are now as much a part of my body as my breasts ever were. I shower, I put on lotion, and I cover my scars with clothes and go out into the world. I am just a healthy woman going about the business of my day. I am just a healthy, young mom out with her children. But the scars are always there waiting to be heard. They want the opportunity to say, “I am not ashamed. I am not embarrassed. I am only a scar.Look at me and be aware. Look at me and know you can save second base. Look at me and know that breast self examination is worth it because no one knows your body like you. Look at me and schedule your mammogram. Look at me and know your family health history. Look at me and know that I am 1 of the 87% of five year survivors alive today. Look at me and don’t be afraid, be aware.”

Those scars roar for awareness every day and every month, not just October. Remember them and share them with the men and women in your lives because they know awareness can do more than just save second base, it can save lives. They are here to speak for the 13% whose scars were silenced by breast cancer.

Resources noted below. (I do recommend finding grassroots organizations in your own city, state, county, or region for help with things such as groceries, utilities, rent, childcare, etc. Some of the larger organizations will sometimes direct you to those resources, but oftentimes, you have to find them on your own.)


Breast Self Examination

Young Survival Coalition (for women diagnosed under 45)

Breast Cancer Resources - United States:

Living Beyond Breast Cancer Susan G. Komen (I'd recommend checking with local affiliates.) American Cancer Society

One on One Guidance and Support: Imerman Angels

Breast Cancer Resources - Europe: Europa Donna Cancer Resource Center (22+ languages available) Cancerworld

Breast Cancer Resources - Germany: Komen Deutschland Breast Cancer/Action Germany Brustkrebs Info

Breast Cancer Support Groups and Organizations - Worldwide: Mentor

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hi, my name is Beth and I'm a SLACKER!!!

Wow, I can't believe it has been 10 months since I've last updated my blog! I'm sorry for being such a slacker. I understand that is an extremely long time to go MIA and leave you hanging, but it happens sometimes. I'll try to catch you up the best I can and not let it happen again.

When I last posted, I was getting ready to go for my second tattooing. Well, I ended up needing a total of 3 tattoo sessions before everything matched, but I am now very happy with my results. My aesthetician did an amazing job.

My third tattooing was closely followed by the revision of my back scar, which also went well. It was an easy, breezy surgery and recovery that required zero drains. Anyone who knows me, knows that drains are a big deal for me. After having complications in previous surgeries and requiring those evil, little things way longer than normal, I think I am slightly traumatized. Seriously, the very first thing that I ask when I wake up in recovery is "Do I have any drains?" I believe I even argued with a nurse once in my groggy, confused state that she was mistaken and even though she told me I didn't have any drains and I really didn't, she was wrong and I know I have a drain! Turns out, it was just a cord going to my blood pressure cuff or something that I confused for a drain!! lol I told you, I HATE drains!!! But like I said, I came out of that surgery with no drains, which was a nice way to end my reconstruction journey on a positive note.

Did you catch what I said?!


Well, unless something comes up or I decide to have some kind of revision in the future, but for now, I AM DONE!!!!

My plastic surgeon did an excellent job and I have great results that I am extremely happy with, but it is still going to take some time to finish healing emotionally. It has been hard for me to embrace the fact that my body is never going to be the same.

I am forever going to be scarred, front and back.

Don't get me wrong, most days I am okay. Some days, I even forget that I had cancer, which I never thought would happen. But there are other days that I need reminded that because I have those scars, I am alive. It's a process, apparently a long one, but enough of that. Let's get back to my updating.

When I last posted I had announced that my sister was going to have a baby. As it turned out, she went to her first OB appointment and found out that her baby had died. We were all so devastated. Even though she wasn't very far along, we loved that baby already. We take comfort in the fact that we will some day get to meet him or her in heaven, but it still hurts. The fact that our loves ones are in a better place than we are, doesn't make us stop missing them.

Aunt Beth loves you baby bean. xoxo

Since I've last updated I have also lost many more of my breast cancer sisters. One of the hardest for me was losing my dear friend, Marie. I had the opportunity to really get to know her at the LBBC conferences in Philly and then we stayed in touch via the computer and phone calls. She was such an amazing woman, a true gem, and one of a kind. She had lived through so much pain and heartache, but meeting her you would never know it. Cancer had taken all of her family, but yet she never once felt sorry for herself.

Marie had something called Li-Fraumeni syndrome, which is a rare disorder that is hereditary and greatly increases the risk of developing several types of cancer, particularly in children and young adults. She battled breast cancer, only to turn around and be diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

I can still remember her phone call. She was letting me know that she was thinking about my kids and I, hoping we were all doing well, and then kinda as an after thought mentioned what her diagnosis was. Who does that?! The answer is Marie. Marie did that. When anyone else probably would've been a blubbering mess, she simply asked that I please pray for her. She always put others above herself and I am truly changed because I knew her.

A mutual friend, Carrie and I went to her viewing that was held in New York, so we could say our final goodbyes. That was absolutely the hardest thing I have ever done. She was so young and newly married. She should've had many more years to live. I still can't believe she is gone.

Marie, I love you and miss you like crazy! xoxo, quack, quack!

This year's LBBC conference will be held in a few weeks and the closer it gets, the more my heart aches. I can't imagine being there and not getting to see Marie, Angie, and Catherine. These are all girls that I looked forward to seeing each year and last year's conference was the last time I got to see them, talk and laugh with them, and hug them. It won't be the same without them.


March 31, 1977 - December 19, 2011


(pictured in the middle)

January 16, 1980 - May 29, 2012


March 31, 1981 - February 16, 2012

I miss you girls so much!

Now that I've thoroughly depressed everyone, I will leave you on a happy note. I am going to renew my CPR and take a RN refresher course. It is 120 hours of clinical and 60 hours of online lecture. Once I am done I will be on a mission to get a job and shut my husband up! lol Plus, I feel like that will be my way of sticking it to cancer. It has kept me from getting a job long enough. I am going to dust off my RN license, overcome my fears, and do this. Wish me luck. Class starts October 16th.

There are lots of other things that have happened in the time that I have been MIA, but I'll save it for next time. I hope everyone is doing well. I'll check in again soon.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I have a couple dates....

with my plastic surgeon that is! lol

Tomorrow I go for my second areola tattooing session. Hopefully that will be all that needs done with those for a while. Cross your fingers!

December 20th, I am having the scar on my back (where they took skin and muscle for my reconstruction) revised. When I had complications and the incision broke open my plastic surgeon had to do stitches on the outside. That makes the scar not look as pretty, so she is going to work on that. Surgery should be a breeze. Can't even believe I am going to say this, but after that I think my reconstruction will be DONE!!!! What a long road it has been!

Oh and I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it on here, but my sister, Erika and I always seem to have doctor's appointments and surgeries on the same day. Well Dec. 20th is no different. She has an appointment with an OB/GYN for a 10 week pregnancy appointment!!!!!!! That's right, my baby sister is having a baby!!!!!! I am so happy for her!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Giveaway winner!

And the winner is.........


Random numbers generated Oct 11 2011 at 19:40:38 by
Free educational resources for parapsychology, psychical research & mind magic.


Thanks so much for entering!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I wonder....

would an apple a day keep my doctors away?! lol

Take Care

I had my 3 month checkup with my oncologist this morning. He went over my scans results with me. My brain MRI showed sinusitis and my CT scan showed I have cyst on my left ovary. I'll have to follow up on that one with my gyne, but I do know that studies have shown that Tamoxifen can cause ovarian cysts.

A study I found in the Oxford Journals (
Patients still having a menstrual cycle during tamoxifen had high risk (58.33%) of developing ovarian cysts. We have described an association between pre-menopausal patients using tamoxifen with high E2 level and ovarian cyst enlargement.

So I guess I fall into that lucky group! Par for the course. lol

Other than that, everything looks good. He isn't really worried about whatever it was that disappear from my left eye. PHEW!! I go back for blood work and a check up in 3 months.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It is that time of year again…

(in my best announcer voice)…


Everywhere you turn, you see that pink ribbon. It pops up on everything from cartons of eggs to toilet paper, but do you think people are really aware? I don’t.

Before being diagnosed, I was a happy, 28 year old, mother of two and nursing student. The last thing I thought about was breast cancer. Yeah, I saw the pink ribbons and knew what they stood for, but it didn’t mean anything to me.

When my husband found a lump in my breast, I knew that I should get it checked, but I decided I didn't have the time. Three months later, just after graduation, I finally made an appointment, because the lump was getting bigger. Although my doctor felt it was probably nothing, he sent me for testing. Those tests revealed that I had a 6 cm tumor in my left breast that was Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma. I had breast cancer at the age of 29!!

Now at age 32, I have made it through chemo, having both of my breasts removed, radiation, and breast reconstruction. Yeah, my breasts are fake, I have scars front and back, but I AM ALIVE!!!

Knowing that I am one of the lucky ones, who are still surviving, I try to do my part to open the eyes of as many people as I can. Everyone needs to know that (according to the Young Survival Coalition) there are more than 250,000 women living in the U.S. who were diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40 or under, and approximately 10,000 young women will be diagnosed in the next year. Breast cancer is also the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 15 to 54.

Not only do we need to spread awareness that this disease is affecting so many young women, but we also need to raise money. Let’s face it, without money for research, how can we find a cure? My Relay for Life team, Beth’s Believers, raises money all year long for the American Cancer Society, but research is expensive and everyone needs to do their part.

Save the ta-tas ( commits 5% of every sale to the Save the ta-tas Foundation and many of their authorized retailers participate in their donation matching program. From 2004-2010, they have donated roughly 50% of their profits. These funds are then used to support independent scientific research. How awesome is that?!

One of the gifts I received when I was first diagnosed was a Save the Tatas car magnet. I loved it so much, that when that one became sun bleached, I ordered another one for myself and one for my husband. Everyone who saw it liked it. Eventually one person liked it so much; they decided to steal it from my car!!!

Seriously, you don’t have to steal; you can buy one for yourself!!!!!!

My new favorite item that they have available is a shirt that says “Imagine a World without Cancer.

Save the tatas has been nice enough to provide this shirt for one of my lucky readers.


1. Become a follower of my blog (on the right side of the page).
2. Leave a comment on this blog entry that includes your shirt size and an email address where you can be contacted. (ONLY ONE COMMENT PER PERSON)

The winner will be chosen one week from today.


Thursday, September 29, 2011


Monday I had my surgery and everything went well. Yesterday my gynecologist called to tell me he had gotten back the OR pathology report already and everything looked good! Phew, what a relief! I go back for a follow-up appointment in 4 weeks.

Tomorrow I leave for the LBBC conference in Philly. This will be my third year attending and I cannot wait to see my girls! I'll post pictures when I get back.

Have a good weekend!