$25 on the 9

January 9th came and went and I never checked up. Didn’t even cross my mind that 4 years ago to the day our world was rocked with the news that breast cancer spread to my bones after nearly 7 years “cancer free.” I became a metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patient. A diagnosis with treatment options, but no cure. Life expectancy is 2-3 years. Terminal.

Jay and I traveled to a large, well respected cancer center to talk with “one of the best” doctors we could find to make a plan. Said “expert” doctor basically outlined my demise. As I understood it, I would be dead in 3 years. Devastated, we came home and I called one of my designer friends and asked her to be the Creative Director for my funeral.

My friend straight up refused the position. She and hundreds of others rallied around me to live. I found doctors who believed with me that I wasn’t a statistic. I decided instead of waiting to die, I would live. I would make my body as healthy as possible and hold on for science… The longer I live, the more time there is for breakthroughs and new treatments. I found people who lived with this disease for 5, 10, 15 years.

Four years later I didn’t even think to remember this devastating anniversary because I was busy LIVING a HEALTHY and HAPPY life. Take that “expert.”

This disease is awful. Brutal. Unpredictable. Devastating.

I am one of the lucky ones. Over the past four years friends have been diagnosed and passed away, while I sit here relatively healthy. The reality is 111 people die each day of MBC. It is the leading cancer killer in women under the age of 50. I am an Exceptional responder – not the norm.

Breast cancer is many cancers – influenced by genetics, hormones and other factors. I didn’t do anything in particular that made my trajectory different than those who died. Just damn lucky.

I share this post today because I wish I knew about people like me when I was first diagnosed. The simple fact that you can live well with this disease wasn’t presented to me as an option. I am a small percentage of patients. But, I am not alone. I am often hesitant to share my good health at the risk of sounding unsympathetic. But, I am reminded by friends who are facing devastating progression that each time we see someone doing well with MBC it brings us hope. My joy is their joy. Their pain is my pain.

So, January 9th, I am glad to have forgotten you.

Instead I am going to remember moments like the first ½ marathon I ran with MBC, the time I swam with sharks, climbed a mountain and chased my kids on a frozen pond… with MBC.

I know there will be another date that rocks our world. A day when I face progression or treatment changes. But, instead I am focused on meaningful experiences- learning something new, spending slowed-down quality time with people I love, helping Hope Scarves reach more people, moving my body, renovating an old farmhouse. And, celebrating!

Actually, I write this from the sky, flying to Las Vegas where we are celebrating a dear friend’s birthday. I’ve never been. This friend is worth it – sparkles, champs, dancing. Craziness. Living life to the fullest– celebrating aging as a blessing not a disappointment.

$25 on the 9.

*I forgot to publish this blog post – until now that we are back from our trip. Indeed 9 was a big winner for me on the craps table (I’ve never gambled before). Most of all – it was a chance to spend laughter filled time with people we love.  Grateful for the chance.  What’s next?

Fun things happening!

I am touched to have been nominated to Today’s Woman’s Most Admired Woman Award in the non-profit category.

Asking for votes for something like this is hard for me, but after encouragement from folks around the office – I am shooting off a quick blog post with the link if you’d like to vote.  Voting ends tomorrow, March 22 at noon. You can vote every day.

Click here to vote

It’s pretty humbling to be recognized in this way.  I am honored to have turned my personal experience with cancer into something meaningful to help others through Hope Scarves.  What a joy it is each day to make my passion my work and have so many caring, kind people come along side me in this effort.

I also recently had the chance to share my story through the Seeking Balance Podcast. A place where entrepreneur mom’s share tips, tricks and tactics for raising babies and companies.

Click here to listen to my wisdom…. ha!!

After months of renovations, I’m excited to share Hope Scarves moved into our new office space. With a packed house, we had an official ribbon cutting and a proclamation from the Mayor of Louisville that March 16th is officially Hope Scarves Day. The new space provides nearly 4 times more space for our expanding Scarf Collection, more capacity for volunteers and first floor exposure for the world to see all the good work happening here.  I’m excited to see what this next chapter holds for Hope Scarves.  I believe the best is yet to come!  Check out more pics on our facebook page.

Thanks – as always – for your interest in my story and support of the work of Hope Scarves.  A day doesn’t go by that I don’t pause with gratitude for this time of stability and wellness…in my hopeful life.

Shine your light and live each day to the fullest.

with hope,

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 – please email us!  hello@hopescarves.org