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Opening for October 1, 2014

The reason behind my absence.  My new son.

The reason behind my absence. My new son.

Dear readers,

It’s been a very, very long time, but I’m back!  This is quite the auspicious day for me to return.  Not only is this National Previvor  Day, and the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but two years ago today, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer.  I don’t want to focus on my diagnosis, though, I want to celebrate.  Let’s celebrate life.  Let’s celebrate each other.  Let’s educate the world about what it means to be a previvor, a survivor, an individual living in the world of hereditary cancer.

To quickly address my absence (I owe it to all of you, who have supported me from the beginning), I had a baby!  It was a complicated, difficult, scary pregnancy, which is why I struggled to keep up with BRCA World.  After a bit of a rough start, my baby boy is now healthy and strong.  A pregnancy so soon after cancer is ill-advised, to say the least, but I am doing fine. You also may notice our new look.  I’m still tinkering with it, so feel free to let me know what you think in the comments.  I will be adding new posts when I can, though, not daily.  I just don’t have the time.  My goal is to post, at least, one day a week.  I’m getting back into the groove of my former, pre-pregnancy life, so please bear with me.

Today, is a day of hope.  A day to educate and spread more than just “awareness.”  Use today to open your mouths and type your fingers to the bone.  As “aware” as the world is about breast cancer, few know about hereditary cancer.  Even fewer know the term, “previvor.”  Let’s change that.  It’s time for some #RealTalk.  Make your words heard and seen.

It’s nice to be back.

Yours, Shannon

***For the readers familiar with my unabashed love for all Eminem music:  please read this opening with “Guess who’s back (back, back); back again (gain, gain).  Shady’s back (back, back).  Tell a friend (friend, friend).  Guess who’s back; guess who’s back; guess who’s back; guess who’s back…” running on a loop in your head.

Opening for November 14, 2013

Dear readers,

I took a few days off to deal with some new health problems. I’m back now, though, and when I learn more, I will be happy to share.

There was a great discussion on twitter last night, put together by @sloan_kettering, about hereditary cancer. I’ll post the highlights a little later, but highly encourage you to check out the full #CancerSmart discussion, yourself.

I am writing this opening from my phone, but will be posting as soon as I get to my computer. Thanks for your patience.

Have a great day!

Yours,
Shannon

Opening for November 11, 2013

Strength to fight what needs to change.  Suffragettes.

Strength to fight what needs to change. Suffragettes.

Dear readers,

Happy veteran’s day! Thank you to all the men and women who serve and make our country great. Thank you, also, to the military families, who sacrifice so much.

Sorry for the short column on Friday. I posted an article about pregnancy, BRCA, and Lauryn Hill, Saturday.  If you missed it, scroll down.

Today’s theme, if there is one, is strength.  We have a video coming your way that is, in my opinion, the epitome of courage and strength.  I spoke with a newly diagnosed woman this weekend.  She didn’t know what a BRCA gene was until a few months ago, and now, not only does she have the gene mutation, she has breast cancer.  No one in her family has had cancer.  She was blind-sided.  The strength she is demonstrating, by not collapsing under the weight of the diagnosis, is inspiring.  Sometimes that’s all you can do, just keep breathing.  Keep breathing and living.  That, in itself, is strength.

If there is anything YOU want to read about (or write about) here on BRCA World, please let me know.  We are a community that is stronger together.  It’s one of the biggest blessings in my diagnosis, that I have found all of you.  We stand together and fight together.

Yours,

Shannon

Opening for November 7, 2013

Good morning readers!

Quick programming note:  things are super hectic this morning.  So, the column will be posted a little later this afternoon.  I apologize for any inconvenience.

There’s a couple things I want to get to today.  First, I have a bunch of news links to share — please click away because there are some really interesting articles.  Then, I want to get to a post about BRCA and pregnancy.

Please continue to find something beautiful in your day.  With fall upon us, it’s not too hard.

Have a great day!

Yours,

Shannon

Opening for November 6, 2013

Dear readers,

Today is a new day.  I have an inspiring video I want to share with you first thing.  It reminded me to find beauty in the unexpected.  I hope it helps you do the same.  I also — FINALLY — have the post about the Partnering for a Cure 2013 conference ready for you.

Take time today to reach out to someone you love.  Make an effort to ask how they are doing.  We spend so much time in our own heads, with our own concerns, we shouldn’t forget that others are facing their own problems and may need us.

Yours,

Shannon

Opening for November 5, 2013

brca world - advocacyDear readers,

Thank you for the great response to all our posts yesterday.  I love the feedback and appreciate you checking in with us.  The Partnering For Cures conference was in full swing yesterday and continues today.  I will be posting a rundown of what I have learned, following along on twitter (#P4C2013), later today.

One of the biggest concerns at the conference has been patient involvement and advocacy — something I preach on about daily.  We NEED to be involved in cancer research; we need to be involved in the discussion; but the scientists and doctors need to hear us when we speak.  It’s a two-way street.  We need to assert ourselves.  They need to let us in on conversation.

I also want to get to the #BCSM chat from last week (as well as the one from last night).  The topic was our “invisible scars.”  I love this topic because it is so ripe for discussion.  We develop so many scars when facing cancer, or the potential for cancer.  Most remain forever unseen, but always present.  Sharing them can take away some of their power.  That’s why we have this community:  to share,to let our voices be heard, and to strengthen each other.

As always, thank you for reading.

Yours,

Shannon

Opening for November 4, 2013

I believe in the beautiful freedom of sunflowers.

I believe in the beautiful freedom of sunflowers.

Dear readers,

I had a tough weekend.  I’m trying to plan for another round of surgery during the holiday season, and it just plain ol’ sucks.  I have a lot of things to figure out between now and then — logistically and personally.  If I seem a little melancholy or stressed, this is why.

Last night, the 2013 Partner For Cures conference began.  It goes through November 5.  It should be really informative.  I will be following along on twitter.  If you care to do the same, check out the hashtag #P4C2013.  I will be sure to cover what I can here on the website.

I’ve got a bunch of good articles for today, plus some news links.  We’ll be talking about the need for support groups in going through this journey.  Plus, I have an anonymous article about facing hboc while married.  It took a lot of courage for a friend of mine to write that one, so let me know what you think.

As always, if there is anything YOU want to read about (or write about, for that matter), please email me at brcaworld@yahoo.com.  Have a blessed, happy day!

Yours, Shannon