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Live in the light

*The feelings expressed below are those of an individual РLara MacGregor. Hope Scarves is not a political organization and does not have an affiliation to a political party.  These words are not intended to represent the organization as a whole.*

xmas-card-pic9 years ago today our world changed forever when I heard the words, ‚ÄúLara, you have breast cancer.‚ÄĚ

I was at a salon with 2 year old Wills on my pregnant lap ‚Äď getting his blond curls trimmed. As tears streamed down my face he placed a pudgy hand on my cheek and asked, ‚Äúmama, you have a booboo?‚ÄĚ

This moment changed our life forever. The past nine years have thankfully been filled with more joy than sadness. More laughter than tears.   When cancer returned to our life 3 years ago I thought our life as we knew it was over… after months of darkness I made a choice. I choose love over sadness. Hope over fear. Light over darkness.

It doesn’t change the fact that I have cancer. But, day in and day out I choose to live my life with hope.

I am always emotional on November 9th. But, I thought today would be a celebration of our future and hope over fear in more ways than one.

Instead I sit in disbelief that our country elected a narcissistic reality tv star as our president. A man who degrades women, mocks disabled people, deplores¬†differences, encourages anger, stokes fear and divides people.¬†¬† This is who we as a country believe will best lead our country‚Ķ this is who ‚Äúreflects us‚ÄĚ as a nation‚Ķ I am numb with disbelief and fear. I have become comfortable with respecting elected officials with different political views than my own… Hello, I have lived in Alabama and Kentucky for the past 13 years. I have really great republican friends! ¬†We have different politcal views. However, I never question their fundamental character.

I have never had to explain¬†to my children that the way the president talks is not an acceptable way to speak to another person. ¬† I have never brought politics into this blog… but I feel so moved today that I had to. ¬†This election isn’t about politics for me so much as it is about respect, honor, responsibility and compassion. And, my deepest hope is that our country will find a way to unify and move forward in a way that celebrates all that is great about America.

As I process the impact this will have on our world I am drawing on the same lessons I’ve learned these past 9 years facing cancer:live-in-the-light

  • Turn inward rather than lash outward. Find peace.
  • Turn heartbreak into something positive
  • Love, respect, be kind
  • Focus on connections and relationships ‚Äď be good to each other
  • Live in the light, not the darkness

But, first I cry.  I always cry on November 9th.  Then, I find someone to hug and laugh with.

with love and hope, always.

Lara

Hope Scarves proud to be part of new approach to research… The MBC Project

screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-1-23-04-pmHope Scarves is an Advocacy Partner with MBC Project and honored to lend our voice to help share the story of this exciting research.  May these efforts lead to better understanding of metastatic breast cancer, inform research and lead to more treatment options.  Our lives depend on it!

This AP article has now reached over 5,000 news outlets!

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/crowdsourcing-effort-takes-aim-at-deadliest-breast-cancers/

If you have metastatic breast cancer – please join our efforts. ¬†It’s simple. And, we truly believe the most innovative research being done today¬†to study patients with the hopes of understanding and better treating this disease.

If you have questions patient to patient Рplease email us!  hello@hopescarves.org

 

Damn it.

This week I reconnected with two friends I hadn’t spoken with in years. Friends who faced cancer around the same time as me in 2007, 2008. We had helped each other through chemo & reconstruction in our early 30’s. And celebrated milestones as we lived beyond cancer… As our lives moved on and cancer was behind us we lost touch a bit.

Now, we reconnected. Because, cancer came back for each of them- stage iv metastatic breast cancer. Damn it.

As we spoke, they each had the same questions ‚Äď How do you live life with such joy? How do you stay healthy in the face of this disease?

Deep breathe.

I encouraged them to take it one day at a time. To not live in the perceived future, but to focus on the day before them. With tears in my eyes, I quoted my dear friend Mary Ann,

‚ÄúIf you had 5 minutes to live, would you spend one second being sad?‚ÄĚ

Mary Ann was a shining bright light of hope, an inspiration to me each day. She is an example of how to live life over cancer.   She died.    I told them that too. No reason to hide the facts.

The reality of this disease is you live each day with joy and gratitude… and the knowledge that this disease kills 111 people every day. Every single day.

The reality is my friend Colleen who on October 27 posted ‚ÄúI had CT scans of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis and a bone scan. I am thrilled to report it all came back stable! I will stay on my current chemotherapy and resume tomorrow.‚ÄĚ

Then, on November 3rd she wrote that she was entering Hospice. Because the 7 brain mets she was also in aggressive treatment for were not responding. There is nothing more the doctors can do. She has two young girls.

How do you help friends enter this reality‚Ķ it‚Äôs such a damn roller coaster. On one hand I tell them they can still live a full, joyful life. That treatments might not be that bad‚Ķ that they might have a long durable response, as I have. That we hold on for science. ¬†Research is leading to new treatment options… lots of reasons to be hopeful. ¬†But, the reality is we don’t know how to stop it. ¬†I don‚Äôt know how long my good health will last‚Ķ I don‚Äôt know when cancer will progress and I will change treatments‚Ķ when the ground will fall out from under me. Because, the reality is, It will.5-minutes

I am so angry at cancer. It steals hopes and dreams and laughter. It robs children of moms and dads. It denies young people the chance to grow old…

In my frustration I fall back on Mary Ann. She didn’t know how long she had to live well. How long she had with her three children on this earth. But she knew the time she had was going to be beautiful.

 

That’s what I know too. Damn it.

 

Living in the light… not the darkness,

Lara