giveaway

July Giveaway #4: CJ Hats Gift Certificate

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Mary Ann Weiss of CJ Hats has donated a $20 gift certificate to her store.  Mary Ann is an 18 year survivor of Stage IIIB Inflammatory Breast Cancer.   She began selling her hats for men, women, and children on Etsy and eBay a few years after beating the disease.  All of the hats are handmade in Michigan, USA.

Visit CJ Hats’ website HERE.
CJ Hats can also be found on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

***CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY***

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July Giveaway #3: Cancer Care Gift Package from Choose Hope

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Karen Shreves of Choose Hope has donated this Cancer Care Gift Tote to one lucky winner.

Visit Choose Hope’s website:  www.choosehope.com

Visit Choose Hope on Facebook HERE.  Follow Choose Hope on Instagram HERE.

***ENTER TO WIN THE GIVEAWAY HERE***

Our Cancer Care Gift Tote is the perfect gift for anyone newly diagnosed or going through surgery, radiation, or even chemotherapy. Designed by our very own cancer survivors, this heavyweight tote includes everything necessary for medical appointments, treatments, hospital stays or just lounging at home. Screened with our inspirational trademarked phrase, “No One Fights Alone,” the tote has a secured zipper main compartment with a curved zippered front pocket. It allows for easy storage of cell phones, tablets, keys, appointment cards, notebooks, etc. Made of 600D polyester canvas, it measures 14″ x 18″ x 3.5″. It’s better than your ordinary gift basket and filled with the following very special items:

  • Soft Plush Blanket – Comfy and warm. Measures 50″ x 60″, 100% polyester, machine washable. Colors vary (please see photos).
  • No One Fights Alone® Ribbon Awareness Water Bottle – 28 oz. water bottle with colored ribbon.  Domed screw-on cap and buckle clasp keeps it germ-free.  Perfect for keeping your body hydrated.
  • Cozy Slipper Socks – Soft and comfy socks that are sure to warm those cold feet on any day! Complete with dot grips to prevent slipping. Colors will vary (please see photos).
  • What Cancer Cannot Do® Notebook – Screened with the popular poem, What Cancer Cannot Do, this 5′ x 7″ notebook is perfect for jotting down thoughts, questions and medical information. Comes complete with matching pen.
  • Hand Sanitizer – 2 ounce bottle with a push lid for easy opening and closing. Perfect for keeping those germs away!
  • Framed Magnetic What Cancer Cannot Do Poem – 4″ x 6″ magnetic frame that holds the popular poem What Cancer Cannot Do. Provides a great reminder that cancer has its limitations.
  • Dionis Lip Balm – Infused with nourishing goat’s milk and antioxidant Vitamin E. Free of parafin, phthalate and gluten (Vanilla Bean flavor).
  • Dionis Body Lotion – Specially blended formula full of goat’s milk, vitamins and proteins needed to replenish moisture. Fragrance free makes it perfect for cancer patients.

The Cancer Care Tote is truly one of the nicest things that you can do for someone who has just been diagnosed. All items are of the highest quality and have been carefully designed and manufactured to make the cancer journey a little more bearable. And with a variety of cancer colors to choose from, this is a a thoughtful and useful gift that is sure to be appreciated!

Please note the Pink Tote for Breast Cancer has our Pink Ribbon Socks.

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July Giveaway #2: Pink Pepper Co Mastectomy Pillow

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Pink Pepper Co Website:  www.pinkpepperco.com

Like Pink Pepper Co on Facebook HERE.  Follow on Twitter HERE and on Instagram HERE.

***ENTER TO WIN HERE***

 

Mastectomy Pillows and Tops for Post Op Healing

Pink Pepper Co. specializes in post op comfort products for breast cancer and mastectomy healing.   We feature Mastectomy Pillows, which provide comfort and protection after any type of breast surgery.  As a patient is healing, they need to apply soft pressure to the chest area, and offer protection against bumps, drops, and the occasional pet or child jump.  Our Mastectomy Pillow is the perfect solution. Equally important is our Mastectomy T Shirts, which are 100% cotton, have easy open snap fronts, and are specifically designed to discreetly hold drain tubes and provide comfort during healing.  These are worn 24 hours a day by patients for the first month of recovery, and are absolutely necessary when mobility and movement are limited.

Made by a Breast Cancer Survivor who understands, for other future Breast Cancer Survivors!

The Breast Cancer Survivor Behind Pink Pepper Co

The owner of Pink Pepper Co is a Breast Cancer warrior, turned survivor! She now makes items to help others through their fight with breast cancer, and to help comfortably from a mastectomy or breast other breast surgery. Each item is handmade in the USA. Each item has been tested through use by Leslie as well during her own treatment. “I sincerely hope it can provide some help and comfort to others through their treatment as well.” You can also follow her journey on Instagram @pinkpepperco

giveaway

July Giveaway #1: Recovery Tee and Care Package from Courage to Conquer Cancer

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Kandi Stewart and Kristi James of Courage to Conquer Cancer have donated a Breast Cancer Patient Care Package including a recovery tee.

Visit Courage to Conquer Cancer at www.couragetoconquercancer.com.

Follow Courage to Conquer Cancer on Facebook HERE.  Visit Courage to Conquer Cancer’s Etsy shop HERE.

***ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE***

This is a great gift for any patient undergoing a mastectomy or other breast surgery.

Care package includes one of their patent pending recovery tees (for drain management, easy on/off while movement is restricted, and can be used during other breast cancer treatments), a soft, plush blanket to keep warm in the infusion center or hospital, small bottle of hand sanitizer, a small water bottle with straw, essential oil soap, lip balm, sickness bag, pocket-sized tissues, box of peppermint oil Angel mints, and a tote to contain it all.

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It’s time for a Giveaway! 

Our page is nearing 1000 fans and our support group has reached over 5600!  So it’s time to host a giveaway!

We are looking for companies who would like to donate items for us to giveaway to our breast cancer warriors or survivors.  Items can vary from something to help during chemo or radiation to post op products to celebrating the survivor.  In the past we’ve had mastectomy pillows, shirts, all natural beauty products, jewelry, handmade wooden signs, and much more.

Participating in our giveaways gives you the opportunity to make a cancer patient smile while also working on your marketing.  As I said above, our page and group reach a massive amount of people who will all see your generosity.  We share your name, fb page, website, etsy shop, and anything else you’d like the participants to know.  Our giveaways are shared on several social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you’d like to participate, please email bcskristyandtaylor@gmail com.  Please include the name and a short description of your company, a photo or two of the item (or a graphic representing your company if you are donating store credit), and a description of the item.

Thank you for considering donating to our group!  

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Giveaway #20: Letters of Love Designs SURVIVOR and HOPE Signs

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Nikki Barr of Letters of Love Designs has donated a SURVIVOR sign and a HOPE sign.  Shipping is donated by Taylor Eames.

Visit Letters of Love Designs at www.lettersoflovedesigns.com.

Like Letters of Love Designs on Facebook HERE.  Follow Letters of Love Designs on Instagram HERE.

***ENTER TO WIN THE SURVIVOR SIGN HERE***

***ENTER TO WIN THE HOPE Magnet HERE***

About the company:  Nikki photographs things that look like letters and then uses the photos to make neat, decorative signs.

HOPE :  3 inches wide/long x 1 inch tall/high.
SURVIVOR (either color style) : 10 1/2 inches wide/long x 2 1/2 inches tall/high.

These signs can stand alone and also hang on the wall – metal hanger on the back.

Indoor display only.

Nikki is also offering a discount to the members of Breast Cancer Sisters FB group.  The discount code will be announced in the group.

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Giveaway #19: Recovery Tee and Care Package from Courage to Conquer Cancer

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Kandi Stewart and Kristi James of Courage to Conquer Cancer have donated a Breast Cancer Patient Care Package including a recovery tee.

Visit Courage to Conquer Cancer at www.couragetoconquercancer.com.

Follow Courage to Conquer Cancer on Facebook HERE.  Visit Courage to Conquer Cancer’s Etsy shop HERE.

***ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE***

This is a great gift for any patient undergoing a mastectomy or other breast surgery.

Care package includes one of their patent pending recovery tees (for drain management, easy on/off while movement is restricted, and can be used during other breast cancer treatments), a soft, plush blanket to keep warm in the infusion center or hospital, small bottle of hand sanitizer, a small water bottle with straw, essential oil soap, lip balm, sickness bag, pocket-sized tissues, box of peppermint oil Angel mints, and a tote to contain it all.

giveaway

Giveway #18: Zipport Shirt

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Laura Buckman of Zipport Wear has donated a women’s pink or black Zipport Shirt.  Soft cotton blend t-shirt with the black plastic zipper on the specified side.

For every shirt purchased, one is donated to a child in need.

Visit the Zipport Website at www.zipportwear.com.

Like Zipport on Facebook HERE.  Follow on Twitter HERE.

***ENTER TO WIN THE GIVEAWAY HERE***

Will was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2015.  He hated having to take his shirt off for port access every time we went to the doctor.  I knew there had to be a better way.  A few weeks later, the Zipport shirt was born and it was a game changer in our journey.  Since then, we have sold hundreds of shirts like this to kids and adults who need them.  In the early stages of Zipport, I knew that I wanted it to be something that would help people.  Zipport is now a one-for-one company.  When you purchase a shirt from the website, you are also donating a shirt to a child in need, you are paying it forward and helping solve this problem for another family.

guest blogger, Side Effects

It’s Just Hair

By Taylor Eames

Facebook memories are a wonderful thing, aren’t they?  A few days ago, it reminded me that I lost my hair a year ago.  I reread what I had written that day, and tears came to my eyes as I remembered the emotional impact this moment in my life had on me.  Let me share what I wrote on April 8, 2016:

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“Last night, kind of suddenly, my hair started coming out in fist fulls.  I went from having a firm grip on my hair to it coming out so easily almost within minutes. It hit me hard. The thought of waking up and finding clumps of hair on my pillow gave me an anxiety attack. So we did what most do during this phase in chemo and shaved it off. It was a very heartbreaking moment in this journey. I never expected it to affect me that greatly. Yes, it’s only hair and it will grow back. But I feel a huge part of my femininity was taken from me. Also, everyone’s looks change drastically when their hair changes. I wept as my mom took the clippers to my head. Actually we all did. My mom cutting my hair, my sister on skype [in San Francisco], Annie [my daughter] (who’s in Michigan visiting her dad) also on video chat. We all just cried. We had joked about the shaving of the head being a fun occasion, but it wasn’t. It was like mourning a loss. Yes it’s only hair, yes it will grow back. But it still hurt me to the core. It will take some getting used to. Eventually it will be the new normal. Maybe later, after I get up for the day, shower, put some makeup on, and don a cute hat, I’ll shar
e a picture. But I have to allow myself to feel the full gamut of emotions or I’ll implode.”

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I remember after the shave, I went to my room and cried some more.  Then I didn’t want anyone to see me for a while.  I hid in my room as my family continued their lives.  Finally, the next day I was forced to emerge from my solitary sanctuary and rejoin society.  This time as a bald cancer warrior.  Now I wore my badge, now everyone knew I was fighting cancer, I was getting chemo.  Now people looked at me differently.  Some with pity, some with admiration, and some with wonder.  Some stared, some purposely would not make eye contact.  And then there were the ones who boldly asked where I was in treatment and how I was taking it.  I didn’t know how to react to that.  Was it rude of them to ask or was it nice of them to make conversation with me and treat me like a normal person?  I guess I didn’t have anything to hide, so I was glad to talk to people instead of getting strange looks.

Later on in treatment, I was at a waterpark with my family.  I wore a cute floppy bucket hat for the most part because chemo makes you more susceptible to the sun, and my bald head was sensitive.  But we live in Arizona and this was the end of July where temps average 115 from day to day.  At one point, I was laying in a wading pool watching my kids play, and I decided to take my hat off because it was making me sweat.  (Don’t worry, I was slathered in sunscreen!)  It only took a few seconds for kids to start looking at me strange. Eventually, one little girl splashed up to me and said, “Why your hair like that?”  My daughter protectively said that I have an illness and the medicine makes my hair fall out.  She looked at me with concern and said, “You ok?”  I smiled and said, “Yes! Thank you!”  That satisfied her curiosity.  She smiled back and she happily splish splashed away.

I lost my hair in April, and it barely started growing back in September.  I kept my head covered in public with hats or bandanas until December.  Like I said, I didn’t think not having hair was going to affect me so much, but it does change everything about the way you look and the way people look at you.  I wasn’t comfortable braving the bare look outside of the home, but others are.  Some do just fine with the shaving of the head, some even celebrate it.  And some mourn the loss, like I did.

Whatever the reaction to losing your hair, it’s yours.  No one can understand what you are going through unless they have experienced it themselves.  Yes, it will eventually grow back, but the fact is your look is changed for at least 2 years.  It’s not just hair.  Regardless of how you handle it, just remember you are braver than you know.


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Taylor Eames is a single mom of four living in Yuma, Arizona, who was diagnosed with triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma in January of 2016.  She openly chronicled her experience during treatment and continuing through the aftermath on TaylorTough on Facebook.  Taylor is one of the founders of Breast Cancer Sisters along with her dear friend, Kristy Irizarry.

guest blogger

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

By Taylor Eames

When my psychiatrist said “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” I was kind of stunned.  There was not one major, impactful incident that had happened in the last four years that could cause what I was feeling.  In fact, there were several things that happened–a painful divorce, moving, caring for my mentally ill son, a cancer diagnosis, moving again.  I didn’t realize that these life events had compounded together to cause some deep depression episodes and debilitating anxiety attacks.

I finished treatment in August of 2016 and had surgery in October.  I got the glorious news that my path report said “no evidence of disease” shortly thereafter.  My hair was growing in.  I was no longer constantly nauseated, and I was gaining my energy back.  It was over.  Now it was time to move on and be healthy.

But I couldn’t.

The moment the surgeon read the path report as no evidence of disease, I thought I would be elated.  But the truth was I barely believed him.  I didn’t smile, I didn’t cheer.  I just didn’t care.  It was reminiscent of when I received my diagnosis actually. “I’m sorry to have to give you this news, but the biopsy indicated malignancy.”  I stood there staring into space, not feeling a thing.  It took several weeks for me to even cry.

The same happened here.  The cancer was gone. but I couldn’t feel any joy.  I couldn’t find it.  I had shared my journey so far on Facebook pretty openly and often in real time updating almost immediately when something would happen.  I hesitated to share this news.   It was like there was a wall in front of me, and I couldn’t step forward.

Then the nightmares started.  Scans that lit up like Christmas lights.  Phone calls from doctors saying they made mistakes.  Chemo again.  Nausea again.  My hair falling out again.  The pain.  I’d wake up covered in sweat, then I’d be unable to sleep.  I’d spend hours in the middle of the night occupying my mind with fluff online just to get the obsessive thoughts out of my head.

I began having deep depressions.  No one really knew about them though.  I have always been able to hide them from everyone else.  I’m a single mom so when I fall, the whole family falls.  I was sick for the better part of a year so I could’t let the depression overcome and disrupt my life, their lives.  I’d go to bed when the kids went to bed, and I would cry. I’d just lie there and cry.  I couldn’t understand why I was so scared now that I was well.  I didn’t know how to move on. I was stuck.  And it hurt.

I got a call in January that my oncologist was referring me to the survivorship program at the Cancer Center.  Survivorship.  So they were going to teach me exactly how I am to be a survivor?  Good, I needed that.

I went to the appointment and the nurse practitioner asked me how I was doing. I said my normal, “I’m fine.”  And she just looked at me.  I knew, she knew I was not fine.  I cried.  I told her everything.  She just sat there and listened intently for a good 20 minutes I’m sure causing her next appointment to run late.  She knew I desperately needed help finding my way and just let me sit there and get it all out.  The best part was that she didn’t interrupt me.  She just let me go and go.

When I was finished, she said she was proud of me.  She said this part is almost as hard as the treatment.  Moving on afterward, facing the future with doubts and fears, not knowing what to do next, it’s difficult.  Everyone expects a cancer survivor to be glad it’s over and see joy in a future of health.  But when those feelings don’t come, it’s common for the survivor to struggle in surviving.  Survivors don’t know that it’s okay to not be okay.

The nurse practitioner decided to send me to a psychiatrist.  I have a history of bipolar disorder and already take psychiatric medication so adding on to them was something she wasn’t comfortable handling.  I agreed.  In fact, changing or adding meds scared me quite a bit.  I had been on the same med regimen and been stable for the last 6 or 7 years.  I felt like this was more an environmental problem than a chemical problem.  But the fact was I was drowning in my own emotions and needed some help, even if that meant adjusting my medications.

I talked to the psychiatrist about what was going on.  He asked me questions about my life before cancer and how I coped with everything going on in my life.  She said that the amount of trauma I had experienced in the last four years is more than many face in their lifetime, and he wasn’t surprised I was now falling apart.  He said I tried to be strong too long, and it was time to give in.  I breathed out a sigh of relief.  I was keeping myself to a standard that was clearly too high for anyone, not just me.  And I needed someone to actually say that.  Again, it’s okay to not be okay.  My new mantra.

He ultimately ended up adding an antidepressant/anxiety to my medications.  It’s a low dose, but within a week or so, once I got past the initial adjustment period, I felt a difference in myself.  He also referred me to a psychologist for therapy.  He said it wasn’t healthy to keep it all in the way I had the last several years.  He said that it’s okay to be strong for my children, but I need to be weak for myself every now and again.

This is a part of treatment that isn’t really talked about.  But your mental health is as important as your physical health.  It is okay to be scared of the future.  It is okay for you to fear that the cancer will return.  You are not the only one feeling that way.  You need to let your doctor know when you are struggling, when you can’t get past those feelings.  Your mind is part of your body.  You need to take care of it too.


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Taylor Eames is a single mom of four living in Yuma, Arizona, who was diagnosed with triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma in January of 2016.  She openly chronicled her experience during treatment and continuing through the aftermath on TaylorTough on Facebook.  Taylor is one of the founders of Breast Cancer Sisters along with her dear friend, Kristy Irizarry.