Live Sincerely

December 11, 2012

Penny’s tone through the telephone is upbeat, vivacious and decidedly realistic. She tells me her story. She was diagnosed October 24, 2004 with lobular stage III breast cancer, a type notoriously difficult to detect via mammography. Her cancer returned in 2009 and she’s had a difficult journey including a hemi colectomy. But Penny’s is not a sob story. While faced with her own mortality, Penny has decided to live.

“My inspiration comes from The Live Sincerely Project,” Penny told me. “Live Sincerely follows the journey of Vanessa who has metastatic breast cancer, her sisters Jessica and Christina as well as everyone who touches their lives. They challenge everyone to embrace life in all its elements, however ‘unfair, scary, hard, confusing, painful, fleeting, amazing and connecting’, they may be.” “On the site, visitors can take the pledge to Live Sincerely,” Penny explained. “So far 1,150 people have taken this pledge and I am proud to count myself among them.”

The Live Sincerely blog urges people to live each day with purpose, acknowledge that which can’t be changed, but seize the moment to change what you can with hope and creativity.

Back on the phone Penny tells me after she received her MBC diagnosis she decided to conquer her fear of heights by daring to zip line. And she has continued to zip line at every retreat she has attended. She’s an optometrist and her children are a junior in college and a senior in high school. Penny shares an open relationship with her children and together they savor moments that are both lighthearted and serious.

Earlier in the year when Penny was headed off to a breast cancer retreat she wrote to the girls of Live Sincerely to ask for pins. “I loved the sisters’ response,” says Penny. “They said: ‘The message is to ask each of us to look inward, reach outward and make efforts in your own life to live sincerely.’”

At MBCN, we like to share stories of how women and men with metastatic breast cancer are living meaningful and productive lives. How about you? Are you looking inward and reaching outward? We’d love to hear from you. Please comment below or drop us a line at mbcn@mbcn.org.

Shuyang (Sue) Yao
MBCN

Wall of Stories: 31 days of October

October 31, 2012

We at MBCN are so honored and proud to display Our Wall of Stories of those Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer on our home page—31 stories—one for each day of October.

We want to thank all of you who contributed and helped spread the message of what it’s like to live with stage IV breast cancer. Here is a screenshot of our story writers, but please visit mbcn.org to click on their photos and read their stories.

Thank you!

Ginny Knackmuhs
MBCN Board member
 
 

Send us your story: the good, the bad and the ugly

April 13, 2012

A few weeks ago, I met an energetic, adventurous and determined older woman with metastatic breast cancer.  After exchanging pleasantries and our cancer “stats”, I suggested to her that she write her story for our website.  She kindly, but assertively, commented that she wasn’t sure that she wanted to write the kind of “positive” story that she thought we would expect.

She went on to talk about the struggle to deal with difficult and cumbersome side effects and the unrelenting stress of living with uncertainty.  This woman also spoke about the adventures that she was engaging in and the importance of these ventures in keeping her focused on moving forward.

We all know that dealing with mbc is complex, gritty, and at times, very unpleasant.  I invite you to share your story with us – even those parts of your experience that are more painful.  Do not feel that your story must only be positive.  MBCN is committed to raising awareness and this means that we are open to and desiring of stories that reflect all aspects of what it is like to live with mbc.

My best,

Joani

mbcn@mbcn.org