my letter

I send a letter out to those friends and family and neighbors who may want to sponsor me for the AWBC this year. Since I'm walking in not just one but two this year I really need to get on the band wagon for donations. Here it is...

Dear Friends and Family,

September 18th 2003 was a day that changed our family forever. That was the day my Mother in law was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I can’t say that cancer was new to our family but it had never been so blunt and in our faces as it was this time. My husband, his siblings and dad and the rest of the family jumped right in. We did research to find out how to support her, to find out what was to come, what kind of medical procedures and therapy she would need in the coming months. We sat in the waiting room at the hospital during biopsies and lumpectomies and port placements, my husband shaved his head after one of these procedures, we went to chemo with her and talked about being tattooed for radiation. We learned a lifetime of knowledge about Breast Cancer in just a few months.
In our quest to not only help my mother in law in what she needed day to day I also went on a quest to find something more. In my research I found the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I raised over $2000 of the required $1800 needed to walk a marathon in San Francisco that next July in her honor. It was one of the most wonderful weekends of my life. Since then I have participated in a total of 3 AWBC walks, made wonderful friends, wonderful memories and hopefully encouraged others to go to their mammograms and do their monthly self breast exams, and this year will be walking in TWO AWBC 39 mile walks! SF again in July and LA Beaches in September. More than just raising money for the cause, for the women and men who are facing breast cancer, my hope is to raise awareness. I hope that even if you choose not to donate this year you will gain some knowledge of how wide spread breast cancer is and what you know can change your life. Knowledge is POWER.
From the ACS website I found this that put into words much better than I, those affected just in 2007.
About 178,480 women in the United States will have been found to have invasive
breast cancer in 2007. About 40,460 women will have died from the disease. Right
now there are about two and a half million breast cancer survivors in the United

Another profound statistic is that 1 in 8 women in the United states will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. 1 in 35 will die from it. Those are very scary statistics. Thankfully times are changing. The more educated we are as a society the more our likelihood of surviving is. If BC is found in its early stages the chances of survival at the 5 year mark are over 95%. That is amazing. Another amazing fact that rarely makes it to the forefront of even Breast Cancer news is that you don’t have to have a lump to have Breast Cancer. Inflammatory Breast Cancer kills so many women because it resembles a rash or bumps instead of "LUMPS’. So if there is anything irregular about your breasts it is so important see your doctor and request an ultrasound immediately. It may save your life.
If you would like to donate for find out more about the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer please go to my walk page at http://tinyurl.com/2fjmvo. This is a direct link to anything you may need to know about this organization and my dedication to this cause. The wonderful thing about AWBC is that over 78% of what I raise goes directly back out into the community for education, early diagnosis and treatment in the form of much needed grants. That gives me great confidence in this organization.

Hopes and prayers for a cancer free tomorrow,

Tina Mickelson
AWBC walker 2004,1006, 2007
Relay for Life 2005, 2006, 2007


someone Quotes

Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and
stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. Christopher Robin to PoohA.
A. Milne


Scrap PINK

Scrapping tonight for a worthy cause... Raising awareness about Breast Cancer! I can't wait. Thank you for those of you who read my post/email about Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Knowledge is power.


I sent out this email today... to inform, educate send somemore support to dear Whymommy

I know that its not quite October yet... but I wanted to share with you one of the blogs I read, http://toddlerplanet.wordpress.com/. I introduce you to Whymommy, mother to two small children Widget and her baby little Bear. Her youngest baby refused to feed on her right side, I mean would EAT nothing...he was 5 months old. She and the lactation specialist had tried everything possible but nada, zip, zilch, WOULD. NOT. FEED. There were other symptoms too so she went to her Dr. after giving up breast feeding on her right side, but she went mostly because her breast changed, got hard in places, dimply kinda like the outside of an orange. Really Really scary!
(see the day she'll never forget http://toddlerplanet.wordpress.com/2007/06/16/not-good/)

She has inflammatory Breast Cancer.

Breast Cancer does not have to be a lump.
Breast Cancer does not have to be a lump.

I read this over and over on her blog. Inflammatory breast cancer only sees a 25-50% survival rate at 5 years and greatly diminishing by the 10 year mark. Many survivors fight hard the rest of their lives... there is a 90% chance of recurrence. Most of their lives will be taken over by chemo, surgery... and many times is already too late because too few doctors know what to look for. When it looks really bad and the doctor decides to send the patient to a "specialist" many times its already too late. We need to educate ourselves because although IBC only accounts for 1%-5% of Breast Cancer cases it could save your life or someone you love. Here is a link from her page that will answer many questions that I know too little about. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/IBC

Education, awareness and being proactive in your own health care is what makes a survivor.

Do your self breast exam, if you find a lump or anything different about your breasts contact your doctor immediately. But don't forget... Breast Cancer isn't always a lump....

Hopes and Cures for a Cancer free tomorrow... (see my blog about my quest to find a cure)

~Tina D. Mickelson


A Shout OUT

I wanted to send a Shout OUT to my MIL who became officially a 4
year survivor of Breast Cancer on Tuesday, September 18th! Congratulations on
your 4th of many cancerversaries!
Its almost October, Breast Cancer Awareness month. Get your pink ribbons. Schedule your mamograms. Do your self breast exams. Save some lives. If you want to walk with me, for a little tiny 36 miles in two days, in SF in July 2008 or LA Sept. 2008 let me know. The More the Merrier. The more $$$ we make the closer we get to a cure and making those diagnosed with BC's lives more bearable and livable. The more women we get diagnosed early so we can save their lives; the more women and men are educated about what to look for so their chances of survival are probable. Help me make a difference.


New Books: Must Read

I love getting packages in the mail. Today I received Crazy, Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr from Amazon.com. I got one for my MIL who is a 4 year Breast Cancer survivor this month and one for me, with 14 years of survivorship under my belt. I also received Preventing & Reversing Osteoporosis: What you can do about bone loss so I'm eager to jump into both of them and gain some knowledge. But I'm off to buy my MIL some flowers and drop them by work for her. I'll let you know tonight if I get to read a bit. I am eager to find healthy way to increase my bone mass and without prescription drugs. We will see.


Lance Armstrong: Its Not About the Bike

My Journey back to Life

Lance Armstrong's fight with cancer was a story well worth the price of the book if you like to read about bike races... I do most of the second half of the bike is about the goal and success of his first Tour win. In general I'm a sports fan, of just about any kind. I also has surgery to remove stage II malignant melanoma about 14 years ago. Although I didn't have to go through chemo or radiation or brain surgery I felt a kinship to the "cancer club" that Lance speaks of in his book.

You will probably not be surprised by his egocentric ways... they are pretty appalling but that is also what gave him the drive to face an opponent unlike any he has faced before, and win. I found myself really disliking him as a person for much of the book... I got over it though.
Cancer took him to a different place in his life. It gave him a reason to live instead of taking advantage of the life and talent he had. The chemo ravished his body and changed its composition, to his favor, to help him win the Tour de' France. I do not think that he has ever done any drugs, including steroids or HCG that could be considered performance enhancing drugs. I could also see how those who have never had cancer would not understand that Lance would rather work his butt off to prove that he could preform to his maximum limits without drugs. The life of a celebrity, sports, TV or big screen is under constant scrutiny and criticism. I adamantly believe that he has never taken drugs that would enhance his performance... he took chemo and anti nausea drugs to live... but for some that will never be good enough.

This book is not particularly well written but its about a cyclist, not a novelist. This book is non-fiction not a great American novel. This man wrote a book from his heart and I believe that he had a lot of enlightenment by writing or thinking about writing this book and I hope it made him a better person. From his childhood through his second Tour de' France win in 2000 this book will take you through extremes of cancer survivorship and the odds Lance Armstrong not only overcame but came out far more than victorious on the other side. I recommend this book but not for just anyone, you must love to read non-fiction for the love of insight into someones life, not for a well written book, you really must take joy in reading about a sport such as cycling and there are parts of this book that are pretty dark... and dry but they are important to the overall book. I enjoyed it.


When He comes knocking... open the door.

I have had feelings and thoughts that have found difficult to express about my faith. I just don't want you to think that I'm trying to shove my beliefs down your throat. Essentially I believe in Him, I love Him and I am so thankful that He is in my life to guide me. I enjoy going to church and wish that I could get my behind in gear and attend on a more regular basis for me and for the boys. In my thoughts and prayers about how I feel I found this blog. He gives us gentle nudges or throws us to the church doors sometimes depending on our needs. He gave me today, and again I am thankful. Serving the Queens puts into words what my heart has been saying for months, perhaps years about the way I feel. We all have our own opinions, I don't share her life or know her troubles because I am not her. What I can do is relate.
I end each of my letters I post asking you all for things and support and sometimes $$$ with a line that lets you know a little bit of who I am, I hope you take it as what it is, how I feel about him... that he can move mountains, he can preform small miracles every day. I hope he gives us the knowledge to find a cure for all cancers.
because I have
Hopes and Prayers for a Cancer Free tomorrow...

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Left to right" me with BFF and my Mom before we crossed the GGBridge AWBC 2006



Please, please, Please! Send your love, prayers and good thoughts out to Jenn at Serving the Queens. She really needs them right now. Thank You WhyMommy for posting the link. Lets get the word out. BC (not that she has it... still in that diagnosing the lump stages) is not a disease to hide or ignore. Each of us can make a difference by taking the time to educate ourselves and others. Most of all, lets be advocates for our own health care and give love and support to those undergoing these trials, from finding a lump (or something else wrong or different about our bodies) to second opinions or demanding a course of action be taken to the level you are ready to pursue. Let us support and pray for each other the best way we know how. Whymommy wants to remind us that "You don't have to have a lump to have Breast Cancer". Just a reminder that this disease takes on many forms and disguises.


Busy Busy Busy

I've been so busy getting ready to go camping and catching up on my other blog that I haven't had much time to blog here. But I will tell you that I will be reading Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book in the next few weeks and I will give you a bit of a synopsis and review when I finish it. Right now I am concentrating on packing for our family camping trip and changing my diet(not like ON A diet but lifestyle, everyday food choices, that are better for my body diet). More on that when I get the results back from my thyroid blood tests then see the endocrinologist. I did take Dr. Oz's Your True Age test last night and considering my medical history I still came out younger than my biological age. Surprising to me, not surprising to those who still think I look 14 years old (pimples and all) LOL.