Thursday, March 21, 2013

Grateful is a Good Place to Wind up in Life

I know, I know. I've been a bad blogger. "Where is that damn Creative Cups review?!" you've been asking yourself for DAYS now. Well here it is! It was so much fun that I had to let it all soak in. I had to wade through picture after picture of one beautifully designed bra after another.

From the moment I walked in I knew I was about to participate in something special. The air in the room was just so positive. The 100+ bras were set up on long banquet tables with each of their stories standing near by on a placard. There was a piece of paper in front of the bras for the silent auction.

Just as I expected, each story that went along with every bra was interesting, inspirational, and thoughtful. The care and precision that went into each bra's creation was thought provoking and special.

Look at all these beautifully creative bras! I know! There are so many! They are all so artistic! You are feeling overwhelmed! Well, too bad! OK, I admit it. I was a bit overwhelmed myself. I wanted to read every story and really take in every bra but it was becoming an impossible task. I knew I had to purchase a Creative Cups book. In the book there is a professional portrait of each bra and the story that goes along with it. This has given me a better chance to read each story again and really think about the bra.

Even the back of each bra was crafted with loving detail. I would walk up and down the tables looking at both the front and back of all the bras. There was everything from ladybugs, to messages of hope, to recipes, to bottle caps, to filmstrips, to flowers, to bike pumps, to chains on the back clasps. Each bra was as different as the next!

I found this fundraiser to be quite different from others that I've attended. There was no pomp and circumstance. No one was patting a sponsor on the back. There was no chanting. Everyone there came to look at some beautiful artwork and to support a good cause. I spoke to amazing women who have been through hell and back and are still smiling. I bonded with some over my "Yes, they're fake t-shirt." It's amazing how many women came up to me and said they need to buy the shirt. There are so many of us out there! During the evening I was surrounded by my amazing and supportive co-workers. Also, C.D. and McCheese made the trek out to the event to celebrate with me and I couldn't thank them enough.

Pat Battle, an anchor for the NY local NBC news channel and a breast cancer survivor herself, was an amazing emcee for the event. She spoke briefly and the excitement from the evening was just emanating from her as the beautiful bras circulated behind her on a slideshow presentation.

Can you tell how excited I was to see my bra on display? I thought it looked beautiful on the bust and I felt very proud of the work that we put in to it. It was auctioned off for $155.00!! There was actually a bidding war towards the end of the evening on "Fancy Me a Heroine." I was so humbled by the two women who were bidding back and forth on it. I am glad my co-workers and I were able to raise that money to go to the NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline. I would be lying if I said I wasn't sad to part with it, but I know it is going to a good home for a good cause. I hope it brings as much joy to the person who won it as it did to me while I was creating it.

By the end of the night I felt so empowered, so supported, and so loved. I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster, with only positive feelings of course. My night officially ended with C.D. and McCheese presenting me with a little cancerversary gift. They had created a scrapbook of my journey from the past year using pictures, parts of my blog posts and their own thoughts and feelings during that time. It is such a beautiful gift and something I will cherish for the rest of my life.

I am so lucky and grateful to be where I am today. The support I've received during this journey and that I continue to receive to this day from everyone around me is just tremendous. Thank you to Creative Cups for allowing me to express myself creatively, and putting together such a wonderful event. I look forward to the next one, whenever that may be!

One of our many quotes from the back of our bra from Betty Rollin:
“Awful things happen to an awful lot of us & it's a happy moment when you start noticing some kind of payoff. Cancer survivors for ex, notice that they're breathing in a way other people don't. And because they are breathing they are grateful in a way a lot of people aren't. And grateful is a good place to wind up in life. It beats poor me.”
- J.

P.S. I heard that the event raised over $70,000 for the Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program. How amazing is that?!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Creativity Takes Courage

Tomorrow is the big day! The Creative Cups auction and reception will be taking over the Adelphi University campus. 100+ decorated bras will be displayed proudly in the University Center from 6:00pm - 9:00pm on March 14, 2013. Along with each bra comes a story behind it's creation.

I was lucky enough to see a sneak peek to tomorrow's evening. 14 bras were on display for a week leading up to the event. The 14 bras were amazing and the stories behind them were just so moving and courageous. I spent so much time in the room looking at each bra and absorbing the story and the motive behind its creation. I don't know how I am going to get through 100+ bras, but I am going to try my best!

There will be passed hors d'oeuvres, a fruit plate, a cheese platter, a dessert of some kind, and WINE! How can you pass up an evening like this? Good food, nice drinks, beautiful bras, and wonderful people, all for a good cause. Who could ask for anything more? Oh, and I will be rocking my "Yes, they're fake" shirt if that is any sort of incentive...

Hope to see you there!

- J.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Let's get this show on the road!" said my Ovaries

Nothing says "Time to wake up!!" like an early morning chat about one's ovaries and future babies!!

I finally got around to calling Dr. Blackwood the other day about my ONGYN's recommendation to do at least a low estrogen birth control pill. Remember THIS post from back in November? Yeah, I'm a procrastinator, don't even start. Dr. Blackwood called me back last night and left me a voicemail. She basically said she doesn't have the answer I am looking for. She said the birth control would be good for my ovaries, but in regards to the extra hormones there's no real concrete evidence that it helps or hurts. Things get especially dicey with my BRCA2 positive gene. She recommended that I call my Onc.

To be honest I don't know why I even bothered calling when I had already (sorta) made up my mind. I guess I was looking for reassurance. I am pretty sure I am going to do none of the recommendations from my OBGYN and just hope for the best. I think he will be a bit disappointed to hear that because he wants me to be proactive and I understand. It's just that two of the options are so extreme and the least aggressive option...well, I've never, ever wanted to take birth control. I never felt comfortable knowing there would be extra hormones in my body. What if I was taking birth control during the time my invasive micropapillary carcinoma was growing inside me? Would it still have been just 1mm? Would my lymph nodes still have been clear? I don't know the answers but I feel confident in my no birth control policy. I've been to many different OBGYN's and all but one tried to push the pill on me. I'm proud that I stood my ground!

But has the game changed now? I no longer have my breasts. It's ovary time! Do I now focus primarily on my ovaries? I am just so scared to put any bit of extra estrogen in my body. It just doesn't feel right. And what if I start taking the birth control in May? What if I want to have a baby in a year or so? It seems pointless to go on it for a year! I don't know...

And don't get me started about babies. Thanks to my health problems I feel pressured to have babies NOW so I can get everything down there removed before it decides to turn against me. It's all so overwhelming when I think about it. Kevin said all will be ok. This is the hand I was dealt and we will do what we have to do. And really, is one ever completely "ready" for children? At 30 I sure as hell don't feel ready but my ovaries are definitely ready to get this show on the road!!

- J.

PS Dr. Blackwood's office just called again. Ha. I am getting my pathology report faxed over to me so I can go through it with a fine toothed comb. I need to be sure I am making the best decision for my health. Oofta. Someone tell me I am doing everything right!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Creative Cups Invite!

Hey Everyone! Remember that post a while back about Creative Cups? Yes! No? Remember my co-workers and I were designing a bra for a fundraising event that will support the Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program? Yes! No? All the bras will be put on display and then auctioned off? Oh yeeeeahhhh!

Well it's that time! On Thursday, March 14th 2013 the Creative Cups Auction and Reception will be here! The doors open at 5:30pm and the reception goes from 6:00 - 9:00pm. If you are interested in attending this awesome event, go HERE to register. It's for a great cause and you will get to see over 100+ beautifully decorated bras on display. And if one of them catches your eye you can even bid on it! I am so excited for this event. I can't wait to see everyone's creation! If you'd like more information, click on the images above.

And for a little sneak peak, here is our "Fancy me a Heroine" bra my co-workers and I created for this awesome gala and our story behind the bra.

This bra was created to honor strong female characters in film. Each woman depicted on this bra had roadblocks in life and issues to overcome; each woman won her battle with her own strong style and grace. When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer she enters a personal battle in her life. Every woman deals with her diagnosis differently but each one is just as strong and brave as the next. All these women, in film and in real life, are powerful inspirations to people everywhere. We want to remind each woman who is currently fighting her own battle that she is not alone! She is standing amongst a sea of strong women who are there to help her and who happily welcome her to help pave the way towards a cure.
If you come to this awesome event make sure you say hi! And if you need any more information, please, please, please leave a comment and I'll tell you everything I know.
- J.