Utah Breast Cancer Support Group

Non-denominational breast cancer support group in Utah for young women in their 20's, 30's and 40's. Friends by Chance. Sisters by Choice.

Young Survivor Sisters is a free, non-denominational breast cancer support group for women living in Utah who are in their 20's, 30's and 40's. We've been supporting each other like sisters since 2003 and welcome your participation. Together We Survive! To join the conversation, please join our Facebook Page

Monday, December 15, 2008

I THINK PINK - Send your Stories!

Now Accepting Stories for 2009

Ginger Johnson was selected as the 2008-2009 honoree for IThinkPink.org. Now the company that sponsors this breast cancer event, For Every Body, is looking for the next honoree for 2009-2010. This is the information from their blog: www.ithinkpink.org

For Every Body would like to sincerely thank each of you who shared your experience with breast cancer with us in 2008. Each of the stories we received was touching and heartfelt. We appreciate your willingness to remind us all how far reaching this disease is and what each of us needs to do to help eliminate the fear associated with breast cancer and vigilantly work towards finding a cure. We truly do admire your courage and strength.We are excited to announce our plans to continue our involvement with breast cancer. In 2009, we plan to again support a survivor, a child who has lost his or her mother, and a woman currently fighting breast cancer.We invite each of you to spread the word about our search for stories. You are welcome to share yours again. We will keep the search open until summer 2009, but encourage you to share as early as possible so others may find inspiration and hope through reading your experiences.To share your story or to receive more information about Think Pink, please visit www.ithinkpink.org. Check back here often to read updates from our 2008 Honoree, Ginger Johnson.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Celebration of Life Invitation Correction

Please note that the Celebration of Life dinner is being held on SATURDAY January 3rd. The invite reads Friday. Darn chemo brain! :)


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Celebration of Life Dinner & Social

We have received confirmation of attendance from the following:

Ginger Johnson & Guest

Erin Gadd & Guest

Jan Kunz & Guest

Ginny Nelson & Guest

Ambery Myers & Guest

Heidi Peterson & Guest

Rachelle Betsuie & Guest

Carolyn Killpack & Guest

Laura Kimball & Guest

Lyssa Davis & Guest

Cecily Heiner

Laurie Nelson & Guest

Lara Garner & Guest

Cheryl Pulsipher & Guest

Brittany Pulsipher & Guest

Nancy Phillip & Guest

Debbie McKenzie & Guest

Tana Coleman & Guest

If you are not listed above but wish to attend, you MUST email your confirmation to youngsurvivorsisters@gmail.com no later than Dec. 14th! Please note that I was able to get the confirmation deadline moved back by a week to make sure that everyone gets a chance to RSVP. We don't want anyone left out! :)


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Life is about Joy

Life is about Joy. It's true! I know many say life is about making money or living well or getting this or that. But honestly, life is about Joy. It's about the little things that make each day special. Seeing the sun rise, smelling the rain, listening to a child's laughter or truly laughing yourself. I'm talking - a serious good chuckle! It's about finding happiness even when it seems that there is none to be found. It's about lifting those around you and feeling the love that comes because of your deeds. It's about learning to overlook the small things that would otherwise bug you and forgiving as quickly as possible.

One of my favorite quotes that hangs on my kitchen wall is this: "In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." ~Pres. Gordon B Hinckley

That is so true!!! Life IS to be enjoyed. Now I'm not saying that everything will always be peaches and cream and that rose colored glasses will be the trend of the day. But as we live each day on this wonderful earth, we have the opportunity to choose how we will respond to the things around us. What a beautiful gift choice is. It is in our power to take any situation, good or bad, and make it better. It is in our power to overlook the slights of others so that we are not poisoned by our own hate. We get to choose how most things affect us and we can choose to find the good in every situation. I have a dear friend who underwent a nasty divorce and still was able to find humor in the situation. Of course, she was making fun of her estranged husband - but he really was doing humorous things! Poor man. Oh, the opposition we face in life. Sometimes it can seem so overwhelming, like the sun will not shine and the dark clouds just won't go away. I know. I've been there. But I've also seen the beauty of the sunrise and the silver and gold lining on those same clouds as the storm passes. Another quote I love: "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain."

When was the last time you let go of the stresses of the day and did just that - dance in the rain. When was the last time you left your 'adulthood' behind and said the word "Echo" really loud in an open area. I have to say that I truly love and appreciate the opportunity to experience cancer because now I do dance and I do shout 'Echo'. All the time! I dance with my kids, I dance while I clean. I smile and just dance. I also scream with excitement when my favorite movies are about to play. Yes, while I'm in the theater! (Sorry to all those moms in High School Musical 3 - and hooray to all the young girls who joined in with me! :) )

I know that some people out there can't stand other people who seem to be happy all the time and I truly pity those people. I often wonder what sadness has caused them to reach that point. What hurt in their life can they not let go of? I know first hand that holding on to hate and anger sours your soul. But as soon as you let it go, the burden is lifted and you can smile once again and really experience the joy that is around you.

So go on - let go of the things that are holding you back and learn to truly live! Have 'much fun and laughter' so that your life journey can be 'enjoyed, not just endured!'

All my love!

Ginger Johnson


Thursday, October 30, 2008

New Contact Cards!!!

Wow! This looks almost Purple on my screen - but it's really PINK!!

These are the new Contact Cards that we've created for the group! You can use these cards to hand out to women you meet who don't know about our group yet - or even better - give a handful to your doctors! They will be a means to help us spread the word about the group!

The cards will be available to you at our Celebration of Life Dinner and Social on January 3rd 2009 being held at the Lion House in Salt Lake City! More info on that coming soon!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Now it's Ginny's Turn To Shine!

Featured Mama
Survivor To Triathlete
When faced with a cancer diagnosis at 24 years old, Ginny threw herself whole-heartedly into fighting the disease. After 6 cancer-free years, Ginny is a conquering triathlete.
Ginny Nelson
City / State:
Layton, UT
What was your big dream?:
My overall dream was to live to see my son grow up, and to hopefully have more children in the future. In 2002 I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 24. By the time we found it, the cancer had already spread to my lymphnodes and my odds of survival were not the greatest. My only child had just turned one and all I could think about was being here for him. That gave me the push to do whatever I could to fight. I was going to beat cancer and that was that. After meeting my 6 year cancer free mark, I decided that it was time to push my body to see what it was capable of after all that it had been through with cancer treatments. I decided to train for the Ogden Valley Triathalon and I completed it this past September.
How did you accomplish it?:
I did everything I knew I could do to fight. Medically, I had the most aggressive treatment I could have. It began with a radical mastectomy, 6 months of chemotherapy, and 25 rounds of radiation. Meanwhile I was doing whatever I could holistically with herbs, raw fruits and vegetables, and juicing. I also started taking classes in yoga, meditation, and Tai Chung to help relieve stress and to get me through the ordeal mentally. I read a lot of inspirational books, and books that made me laugh. I had a friend who had been through cancer years earlier and she gave me some great advice. She told me to laugh as much as possible. She said that studies had proven that laughter heals. So she said to read funny books, watch funny movies, live and enjoy my life to the fullest each day even if I didn't feel great and I would heal faster and get through it easier. I think she was right. Six years later I am the mother of 3 children and healthier than ever.
Where did you find inspiration to get started?:
I had a lot of support from friends and family who were cheering me on. I would get cards and letters in the mail from friends who were thinking of me and praying for me. I would even get cards from people I didn't know who said they had heard about me from a friend or family member and that they were praying for me and my family. People would leave little surprise packages, or flowers at my door to sweeten the day. It was just amazing to see the outpouring of love and kindness that was shown to me and my family.
What motivated you to keep going?:
My family. I wanted to live more than anything else in the world. That was all that mattered.
What's your next Big Dream?:
I want to get to my 10 year cancer free mark so I can have a huge celebration and invite all of my family and friends for the greatest party ever. I would also like to continue doing Triathlons and progressively get faster with each one that I compete in.
When you were 5 what did you want to be when you grew up?:
A mother
What about when you were 15?:
A marine biologist
Now, what do you want to be when you grow up?:
Forever healthy, and an amazing wife, mother, friend, cook, seamstress, gardener, and accomplished musician. I better have more time because I still have a lot to learn!
What book is on your night stand?:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
What's your Guilty Pleasure? (Grey's Anatomy, Peppermint Mocha Lattes):
Anything chocolate
What song moves you?:
Crazy Love by Paul Simon


Monday, October 20, 2008

Our Erin is a STAR - and promoting us as well!

UtahMama.com highlighed our own ERIN GADD! WAY TO GO ERIN! WE LOVE YOU!

Dream Big
Mamas are known for cheering on their children, their husbands, their friends. But when was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back? Put yourself in the spotlight with women who can appreciate the joy of what you've done whether you completed a marathon, lost 20 pounds, or just cleaned out that scary garage.
Tell us about it!

Featured Mama
A Survivor’s Dream

When Erin was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at age 26 her hopes where simple – to live to see her babies go to school. Dealing with the obstacles and fears of a young cancer patient, she and a fellow cancer patient were inspired to create a support group, The Young Survivor Sisters.

Name: Erin Gadd
City / State: South Jordan, Utah
What was your big dream?: To beat cancer and see my boys go to Kindergarten and to maybe someday have a daughter.
How did you accomplish it?: After being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 26, I knew I had a long, tough road ahead of me. The cancer was aggressive enough it required surgery, 6 months of Chemotherapy followed by 6 weeks of radiation and a year of another type of intravenous treatment.I felt so nervous and scared and wanted to talk to someone who had been through it so I could ask the dozens of questions I had. But everyone the doctors knew were all A LOT older than me. Finally a nurse called with the name of another girl who was 24 and was going through the same thing. To make a long story short, we ended up starting a support group for women who are diagnosed with breast cancer under age 40... The Young Survivor Sisters. These sisters helped me accomplish my goal of getting healthy.

Where did you find inspiration to get started?:My husband and sweet boys (then age 3 and 1) helped me realize that even though the road would be tough, it would be worth it. My Heavenly Father ultimately blessed me with the strength and courage to start that first treatment and helped sustain me through the most difficult time of my life. With the support of my dear friend Ginny, who helped create our support group, we could talk to one another and help each other through all the many questions that come from this diagnosis.

What motivated you to keep going?: My husband and 2 little boys kept me focused on the goal. Get through chemo and be healthy. I wanted to live long enough to see their cute smiling faces the day they headed off to Kindergarten. I also was motivated by the other survivor sisters and their positive outlooks. Just having another person there who knows what you’re going through is such a tremendous help. I was not alone!!!I also tried to serve others. By thinking about what I could do for other people helped me forget my troubles and get my mind on something else. During my treatments I served as the President of my church’s youth organization, helping girls ages 12 to 18 achieve their spiritual goals. I never realized that I would be the one who benefited from this service. The girls would often bring me fun gift bags with hats and treats; they decorated my house with hearts and would baby-sit for ALL of my radiation appointments. I couldn’t have done it without them and all of my great neighbors who brought me dinner and cleaned my house!!I also used humor… A LOT! Because a lot of times if I wasn’t laughing, I’d be crying! I started collecting humorous quotes to help me along. My favorite is… Even when you fall flat on your face…at least you’re still moving forward!!Two years after finishing all my treatments, I was able to get pregnant and have a daughter! We call her our miracle baby!
What's your next Big Dream?: I would love to live long enough to be a Grandma! I know that’s asking for like 20 or 30 more years, but it would be great! Also, I’d like to make my little photography business a BIG success! Last year I decided to start a photography business because I wanted to capture the precious moments we have in life. I feel so blessed to have been given a second chance at life, so now I try to enjoy each day a little more, no matter what the day brings. I look at my daughter everyday and realize what a miracle she is. I send my boys to school and realize what a miracle it is that I get to see them off every day.I named my business Pink Daffodil Photography. Pink is for breast cancer, of which I’m a survivor!! YAY!! And Daffodil is the cancer flower. I hope to help others realize the everyday miracles they experience in their own lives by capturing them on film. You can check out my work at www.pinkdaffodilphoto.blogspot.com.
When you were 5 what did you want to be when you grew up?: A ballerina
What about when you were 15?: A Psychologist or a photographer
Now, what do you want to be when you grow up?: A great wife; a great Mom; and a great photographer!
What book is on your night stand?: Way to Be! By Gordon B. Hinckley
What's your Guilty Pleasure? (Grey's Anatomy, Peppermint Mocha Lattes):
Oh, how I love sweets!! Easter candy is my favorite with jelly beans and malted eggs…mmmm; but in the off season, I settle for some Mike and Ike’s or caramel Werther’s…so tasty!
What song moves you?: This is a tough question for me because I LOVE music. I play the piano and write music of my own. There are so many to pick from…. For songs that emotionally move me, I really love the church hymn “Where Can I Turn for Peace?”, Sarah Mclachlan’s “Ordinary Miracle” and Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying.” Songs that PHYSICALLY MOVE me I would have to say “Move This” and “Pump up the Jam” by Technotronic…(that’s what I exercise to!!)


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act Petition

The blue writing is an email that I received today. I had one of the 'drive-through' Mastectomies. I know that many of you may have also experienced this first hand. The first paragraph is from a nurse that could have been mine. Please take the time to read this, sign the petition if you haven't already, and pass it on to others so they can also sign.

From a nurse:
I'll never forget the look in my patients' eyes when I had to tell them they had to go home with the drains, new exercises and no breast. I remember begging the Doctors to keep these women in the hospital longer, only to hear that they would, but their hands were tied by the insurance companies. So there I sat with my patients, giving them the instructions they needed to take care of themselves, knowing full well they didn't grasp half of what I was saying, because the glazed, hopeless, frightened look spoke louder than the quiet 'Thank You' they muttered.

A mastectomy is when a woman's breast is removed in order to remove cancerous breast cells/ tissue . If you know anyone who has had a Mastectomy, you may know that there is a lot of discomfort and pain afterwards. Insurance companies are trying to make mastectomies an outpatient procedure. Let's give women the chance to recover properly in the hospital for 2 days after surgery. It takes 2 seconds to do this and is very important. Please take the time and do it! Please send this to everyone in your address book. If there was ever a time when our voices and choices should be heard, this is one of those times. If you're reading this, it's because I think you will take the 30 seconds to vote on this issue and send it on to others you know who will do the same. There's a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act which will require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stays for patients undergoing a mastectomy. It's about eliminating the 'drive-through' Mastectomy where women are forced to go home just a few hours after surgery, against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia and some times with drainage tubes still attached. Lifetime Television has put this bill on their Web page with a petition drive to show support. Last year over half the House signed on. PLEASE!! Sign the petition by clicking on the web site below. You need not give more than your name, state, and zip code. Click: www.lifetimetv.com/breastcancer/petition/signpetition.php This takes about half a minute. PLEASE PASS THIS ON to your friends and family, and on behalf of all women.

I wish this bill had been passed last year. My surgery started at 1:15 p.m. The surgery took 3 hours. I went home 2 hours later. I would have gone home sooner if the hospital had it's way. I was nauseated so I didn't want to leave but the out-patient center was closing so they wanted to send me home so they could go home. I was still so out of it that I don't even remember anything my nurse said to me before they sent me home. The drive home was miserable. The surgery was on Thursday. I had to drive back to Salt Lake, an hour away, on Friday to have a check up with my surgeon and again on Monday for a second check up. The drive back to Salt Lake on Friday was still pretty miserable. By Monday I was doing well enough that the drive wasn't too bad. I don't remember much about the first few days after surgery. I was pretty out of it. I do remember getting sick when I tried to eat something and had to have my 70 year old mother-in-law help me to the bathroom. I don't blame my doctor for doing my mastectomy as an out-patient but it would have been a lot easier on me if I had been able to stay at least 1 night in the hospital. Thank heavens that I did not have any complications. My doctor promised me that I would be able to reach her even over the weekend but I would have still been over an hour away from her. My mastectomy had good results but it could have been easier at the time. This bill would help other women to not have to go through a 'drive-through' Mastectomy like I did.

On September 25, 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the bipartisan Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, which would end the practice of "drive-through" mastectomies, when women are forced to leave the hospital within hours of undergoing major breast cancer surgery. But the act still needs your support! Sign the petition below now and urge the Senate and the president to take the next steps to pass this bill.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Lynn Lectures

The Salt Lake City Affiliate ofSusan G. Komen for the Cure® presents

The Lynn Lectures
"Beyond Just Surviving: How to Thrive after Cancer"
Featuring Susan Bauer-Wu, PH.D., RN
With Heidi Marble
Saturday, October 25, 2008 at 7:00pm
Huntsman Cancer Institute Auditorium, Sixth Floor
Tickets: $7.00 per person

Register by sending your check made payable to the Komen Salt Lake City Affiliate at PO Box 522320, SLC, UT 84152. Phone reservations with credit card orders can be made by calling 801-446-2980 and leaving a message.

A pre-lecture reception with Susan Bauer-Wu and Heidi Marble in the fourth floor conference room will also be held at 5:30pm requiring a minimum donation of $25.00.
Beyond Just Surviving: How to Thrive After Cancer

Thriving beyond the diagnosis and treatment of cancer will be the essence of this presentation that will certainly inspire cancer survivors, families and the general public. Based on scientific research, observations and interviews with individuals who have transcended devastating life circumstances, particularly remarkable cancer survivors who have lived fully and 'beat the odds', Susan Bauer-Wu will describe a prescription for how to thrive after cancer. Then, Heidi Marble will share her incredible journey and how she continues to thrive 8 years after the diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer. With touching stories, beautiful images, poetry, and practical suggestions, Susan and Heidi will set the stage for hope and inspiration.
The 2008 Lynn Lectures feature Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, a highly regarded lecturer, researcher and retreat facilitator. From 2001 to 2007, she was instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and served as director of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Phyllis F. Cantor Center for Research in Nursing & Patient Care Services. In her role at Dana-Farber, she led research efforts aimed to improve both the quality of life and quality of care for cancer patients, with a particular focus on breast cancer patients. In 2007, she was selected for Distinguished Cancer Scholar of the Georgia Cancer Coalition, while beginning a new position as Associate Professor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. She is the principal investigator of a large randomized, controlled trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), currently conducted at Dana-Farber and Emory, evaluating the bio-behavioral effects of mindfulness meditation for cancer patients.
The Lynn Lectures was established to honor the life and spirit of Lynn Tucker Grogan, an ordained minister who, during her battle with breast cancer, promoted the importance of the interrelation of body and mind in the healing process. She inspired others by her fortitude, compassion and ability to live an incredibly full life with joy and grace. Lynn wrote in her journal, "Cancer has been my search engine on a magnificent and intricate spiritual journey." The purpose of the Lynn Lectures is to further Lynn's exploration and provide a forum to help others become proactive participants in their own healing.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Great Dog Story

My sister sent this to me and I loved it so much I thought I would share it with everyone. Remember that attitude is everything. Enjoy and fight.


Anyone who has pets will really like this.
You'll like it even if you don't and you may even decide you need one! Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named 'Lucky.'
Lucky was a real character.
Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit
they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open
because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy.
Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing. Mary or Jim would go to Lucky's toy box in the basement
and there the treasure would be, and all of Lucky's other favorite toys.
Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box
and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box. It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer.
Something told her she was going to die of this disease
....in fact , she was just sure it was fatal. She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders.
The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky.
A thought struck her...what would happen to Lucky?
Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim,
he was Mary's dog through and through.
If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought.
He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him.
The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death. The double mastectomy was harder on Mary
than her doctors had anticipated
and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks.
Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully,
but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable. Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital.
When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted
she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom.
Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap.
Lucky stood watching Mary
but he didn't come to her when she called.
It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed. When Mary woke for a second she couldn't understand what was wrong.
She couldn't move her head and her body felt heavy and hot.
But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem.
She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned!
While she had slept,
the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement
bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life.
He had covered her with his love. Mary forgot about dying.
Instead she and Lucky began living again,
walking further and further together every day.
It's been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free.
Lucky? He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box
but Mary remains his greatest treasure. Remember....live every day to the fullest.
Each minute is a blessing.
And never forget....
the people who make a difference in our lives
are not the ones with the most credentials,
the most money, or the most awards.
They are the ones that care for us.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Festival of Trees... Calling all Creative minds...

So I sent an email to our group and got some really great responses so far....What do you think? I'd LOVE to hear your ideas! More importantly, I'd love someone to volunteer to head up this effort!!!

Here's what Ceclie said:

I think the trees look like something from a Dr. Seuss book, and I propose that would be a fabulous theme for at least one of these crazy trees! You could for instance do "Oh, the places you'll go!". Buy several Dr. Suess books for beneath the tree, and/or a train. I would read Dr. Seuss books and study the illustrations for inspiration. If you want to do a cancer twist, you could do Oh, The Places You'll go! and do a hospital, a toilet, a barbershop/wig shop, a mastectomy boutique, etc. for buildings around the train track.

We could also do a "Race for the Cure" themed tree, and make a skirt from all of our old race for the cure shirts, and decorate it with pink ribbon shoe laces and raspberry gu gel and pink gatorade and granola bars.

Here's what Teri said:

I think it will be fun, just an idea for decorating would be to do an "angels among us" and have each person submit their angels that helped them through cancer, or to have each of us submit a bald picture and put it as the head of an angel and then write the names of people who were our angels. I don't know but I like the angels theme obviously. I was thinking of the gingerbread ornament angels to write on.




Friday, September 26, 2008

Evening In Pink

Hello Sisters!

I just wanted to make sure that you all were invited to attend the 2008 Evening In Pink @ 6:30 PM at the Show Barn at Thanksgiving Point. It's a HUGE breast cancer awareness event sponsored by For Every Body. It is going to be a wonderful event and the best part is that it's FREE!!! Kevin Sharp will be performing and speaking! They are giving away gift bags to the first 100 people in attendance so show up early. I'm not sure what's going to be in the bags - but knowing these people it's going to be good! There will also be a Silent Auction and Tributes to Breast Cancer Heroes.

You can learn more by visiting www.ithinkpink.org

I hope you can all make it!

:) Ginger

P.S. I'm working on putting together a phone directory for the group - so if you would be willing to send me a picture of yourself/family in a jpg file to add to the directory I'd sure appreciate it!

Also - Don't forget to watch for upcoming announcements about the 2nd Annual Celebration of Life Dinner and Social coming up later this fall. There will be giveaways this year and it will be fun to get to know the newest memebers of the group!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Ride for the Cure









Contact Kay Kanter with any questions: FLOWERDOODLE@AOL.COM



Friday, July 11, 2008

Come one, come all!!!

Please note, the time of the picnic is actually 6:30pm. Please contact Ginny or I ASAP so we can order the food. Hope you can all come!!!


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Life Victories after Breast Cancer

Lately I've thought alot about life after Breast Cancer. I know that since I haven't yet completed reconstruction I'm still in the thick of it - but each day I realize more and more the small victories of just being alive and doing things with my family and others I love.

This year Travis and I planted what we call our 'Victory Garden'. Basically, we filled our yard with as many flowers as we could afford - and most of them are pink. It was such a rejuvinating feeling to be able to work the soil again and feel good enough to sit outside and pull out weeds. Literally theraputic.

As I sat there weeding and planting, I contemplated the incredible journey that perennials and trees go through each year. They start as small seeds and continue growing into beautiful flowers and trees. They enjoy the nourishment the rain brings in the spring and seem to bask in the sun during the summer. Then life takes a sharp corner as the autumn winds start to blow and the weather becomes crisp as winter approaches. The tempatures fade and the perennials are cut down in preparation for the storms ahead. The trees start to lose their leaves until they are finally all gone. Yet they endure it. The snow falls and it seems as if for a time all is lost. The beauty that they possed is covered in a blanket of cold and only a memory of their true potenial is left.

In many ways - I can relate. I felt as though I was basking in the warmth of the summer sun before I was diagnosed- and then the snow came. My health was cut down and my hair fell out and for awhile a dark blanket covered my eyes as I endured chemo. Many of you also felt the sting of radiation and I relate that to someone drilling a hole in the tree and pouring in the roundup.

Amazingly enough though - the winter passes and there is still life yet to be enjoyed in the plants of my garden. It seems to take forever, but then one day, the perennial I cut down the year before is before my eyes in glorious blooms and the plant itself has grown stronger. The trees regrow new fresh leaves and blooms and fill the air with the scents of life.

I too have been rejuvinated. I see myself as a stronger woman, a better mother, a person who enjoys life a little more because I've felt the sting that associates with the word 'cancer'. Like my perennials, I've come back larger than life and with more zeal to be better than ever. I now truly understand what it means to 'appreciate'. I know you do too.

Look outside sisters-enjoy the beauty around you. Find a way to balance yourself so that your life can be full of peace and happiness. I'm not saying that the storms of winter don't take their toll on life. They can do alot of damage. But I know that inside each of us is a strong desire to grow and become as beautiful as we can

My 'Victory Garden' reminds me everyday that life is something to be cherished and valued. I share this with you as a reminder of your inner beauty and the strength that lies inside each of you. YOU are amazing and I love you.

:) Ginger

If you have a life victory story, please post. I would love to hear what you are doing to celebrate your victories in life!


Lance Armstrong Foundation - Race

Run the Nike+ Human Race for the Lance Armstrong Foundation

Be part of the world's largest one-day running event. On August 31, 2008, the Nike+ Human Race will take place in 25 cities across the globe, and the more miles you run, the more funds will be raised for the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF).
Register for the Nike+ Human Race today to support the LAF's fight against cancer.
There are two ways to participate:
Register to run in one of the 25 cities where Nike will host a race, including Austin, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. A portion of your registration fee will go to the LAF.
Visit nikeplus.com to sign up to run in your hometown with Nike+ enabled products. There is no registration fee.
Run the Nike+ Human Race and support the LAF's efforts to make cancer a national priority. To learn more, visit nikeplus.com.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Relay for Life Survivor Celebration - West Jordan

All Young Survivor Sisters and other cancer survivors have been invited to attend the Relay for Life Celebration to be held in West Jordan. Information is below. Hope to see some of you there!

A message from Debbie Watterson cdwatterson@msn.com.

You are cordially invited to join other cancer survivors including those in treatment and remission at the Relay For Life of West Jordan 2008

Date: Friday, June 13, 2008
Time: 5:00 PM Survivor Reception, Opening Ceremony,
6:00 PM Survivor Victory Lap for wishing to open Relay Activities

There will also be food, entertainment, & Luminaria Ceremony

Location: West Jordan City Park, 1985 W. 7800 So. West Jordan, UT

(Please feel free to bring 1 guest)
Click here to view a printable version of this eCard.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bald is Beautiful

A few weeks ago I spent some time with my cousin who is a great photographer. We took some fun pictures so that I would have some good memories of my time without hair. I just wanted to share a few of them with you. If you want to see more you can see them at http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0AasnLVi5aMWTqI&emid=sharview&linkid=link5


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 2008...

So here we are...the cutest group of girls I've ever seen!!!!
Whoo-hooo...aren't the newlyweds cute?!!! (Justin & Melissa Taylor)

This is a picture of Erin's back...running in Celebration of the Young Surivivor Sisters and in Memory of the sweet Aubrey Arnell. Many of us got to visit with Aubrey's husband and kids. They seem to be doing really good.

On your mark, get set, GO!! Where? There were sooo many people it was tough to run! What an awesome sight it was to see so many people!!!

This is my son Spencer. He ran the 5k. I was sooo proud of him! His favorite part of the race was getting water and dropping the cup on the ground!
This is our view of the crowd during the survivor march. What an awesome sight!
This is Anne's little girl Hannah giving her best cheerleading cheer for Mom...GOOOO MOM!!
This is Tana's husband cheering for his HOT wife!!! Go Tana!!!!!

What a super fun day it was!!! Way to go Young Survivor Sisters! It was so fun to see all of you there! And those of you who couldn't make it, we missed you! Maybe next year huh? Mark your calendars...the day before Mother's Day 2009!


Monday, May 5, 2008

Komen Luncheon

It was great to see so many sisters at the Komen Luncheon this year and for those who couldn't make it - We missed you!

Don't forget about the Race for the Cure coming up on May 10th! More information about signing up for the Race can be found at http://komenslc.org/


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Gotta share the laughter!

Let me share with you one of my more recent moments of embarrassing but funny experiences. I was bald from the chemo and ordered in a longer "Hair you Wear" wig that goes inside hats, I went and picked it up and was so excited about having hair, that I put the thing on with my beanie and headed into the mall to run some errands. I was walking around and feeling very glamourous well as glamourous as you can feel when in chemo, but after many cold weeks of no hair this was wonderful to feel almost normal, even pretty with my long flowing locks of wig hair. I soon notice people seemed to be looking at me, and I thought wow this must be some hair. I even remember the lady that rung me up for some shoes really staring longer than the norm at my hair. Well feeling very happy to have been so envied for my beautiful hair that I had been minus for way too long I practically skipped back to my car. When I was unlocking my car I saw to my horror my reflection in the window of my car...a giant and I mean 4 inch by 4 inch card was hanging next to my ear with big letters printed on it "HAIR YOU WEAR". Ha.I havent been back to the mall since. - Karie


Friday, March 28, 2008

Open for discussion

Hi Sisters -

I've been extended an invitation to speak at the upcoming Komen luncheon on May 3rd - and although it is not set in stone yet - I was wondering if you would offer your suggestions on what you feel would be the most important things for me to address - things you feel would matter most to those in attendance.

I'm overwhelmed by the invitation and would love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks so much!

Ginger :)


Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I can't tell you all how excited I am to share this information!!!!

Dr. Massey is back in Salt Lake City and now does microsurgical breast reconstruction!!! What does that mean? NO MORE USING MUSCLES FOR RECONSTRUCTION! It's true!

I've been sick about the thought of sacrificing my lat muscles or my ab muscles for reconstruction purposes. So I went to the Komen website and posted a message asking for advice. One wonderful woman told me about DIEP, SIEA, and GAP reconstruction. Basically - what they do is use your fat and then using a microscope, reattach the necessary blood vessels. I did a search for DIEP and found this site : http://www.diepflap.com

AND GUESS WHO IS ONE OF THE DOCTORS? DR MASSEY! Not only that -- she has an office in Salt Lake again! So I called down there and found out that she just barely reopened her offices this week! YEAH! My prayers have been answered!!! I've got a consult scheduled for tomorrow!

Not only can they use fat from your tummy - they can also use fat from your butt! Amen to that! And I'm sure she is the only one in Utah who can do this type of reconstruction because all the plastic surgeons I've spoken with have offered only the tram or lat flap solution.

Here is some of the text from their site about DIEP. You can visit their site for more information about the different types of microsurgical reconstruction that is available with before and after pictures!

"Perforator flaps represent the state of the art in breast reconstruction. Replacing the skin and soft tissue removed at mastectomy with soft, warm, living tissue is accomplished by borrowing skin and fatty tissue from the abdomen. A slim incision along the bikini line is made much like that used for a tummy tuck. The necessary skin, soft tissue, and tiny feeding blood vessels are removed. These tiny blood vessels are matched to supplying vessels at the mastectomy site and reattached under a microscope.Unlike conventional TRAM flap reconstructions, use of our refined perforator flap techniques allow for collection of this tissue without sacrifice of underlying abdominal muscles. This tissue is then surgically transformed into a new breast mound. The abdomen is the most common donor site, since excess fat and skin are usually found in this area. In addition to reconstructing the breast the contour of the abdomen is often improved much like a tummy tuck.Restoration of the nipple and areola follow. Scars fade substantially with time. For many women the reconstructed breast may be firmer and have a more youthful appearance than their natural breasts."

Dr Masseys information:

Utah Office
9600 South 1300 East
Alta View Women's Center
Suite #302
Sandy, Utah 84094
TEL: 866-446-0962
FAX: (803) 656-9880

I'd love to hear your comments about this news - so post away!


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Advice from a Fish! Who knew!

I've been thinking about alot of things lately - but first and foremost has been the struggle that each of us face daily. We have so many choices to make - so many decisions that will affect our here and now and also our future. How we choose to react to life and how we choose to act will largely determine our happiness.

I know that some of our sisters are experiencing great difficulty with breast cancer issues or other personal issues right now. I'm experiencing some of those issues as well. To reconstruct or not to reconstruct? Are boobs really worth losing body function by removing my lats or abs to create them? What about the future? Will the cancer come back? Is the Tamoxifen worth taking considering the negative side effects?

In thinking about all of this and the other struggles that we face - I must say that I admire Dori on Finding Nemo. Many of you know that I've used her song "Just keep Swimming" as part of my motivation to keep going during chemo and surgeries. I enjoy her example for a few reasons.

First, she was willing to be a friend to everyone - sharks and all. She opened to heart to those around her irregardless of who they were and was willing to help Marlin even though she just barely met him. I feel that we also can reach out to those around us and just be a friend to those in need. Something I know we do now and will continue to do in the future. I have found that by opening my heart to others and sharing the talents I've been given - it is I who am rewarded far more by the love I receive in return than by what I give.

Second, Dori was able to hope for the best and make the best out of any situation. I like the scene when her and Marlin are trapped inside the whale. Marlins efforts to escape wore him out and frustrated him. Dori, on the other hand, chose to enjoy the situation and see the whale 'half full' instead of 'half empty'. Often times in life we are presented with challenges and trials. Although not easy -we can choose to see the positive in every situation - and laugh at the things we cannot change. Sometimes laughter is all that is needed to drive away the dark clouds that sometimes hang over us.

Third, Dori was able to forget the past. Now - I'm not recommending that we all go out and pursue 'short term memory loss'. I don't know about you but I think the chemo has already caused that in my brain. :) However, she enjoyed the present moment because she wasn't held down by feelings of guilt, remorse, or hate. As she said, "It's time to let go." When we are able to release the past - our present and future opens up to us in such bright ways that happiness can be ours. Change what you can change, apologize if needed, do everything you can and then - just let it go.

One of my favorite quotes that hangs on my kitchen wall states:

"In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured."
- Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

Dori to me symbolizes this statement. Although she endured her share of trials and aventures - she was able to enjoy life, laugh and have much fun.

It is my wish- that we as Young survivor sisters may do likewise and find the goodness and happiness that life has to offer. We all know that life has plenty of adversity. In fact, if you haven't been through adversity, where have you been?

But as Dori put so well:

"You know what you gotta do when life gets you down? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming! Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do we swim, swim."

(Does that sound kindof orcha-ish?)

All my love sisters!


Believe in something larger than yourself...

I couldn't resist adding this picture of my son Ethan. I think it represents all of us that are mothers...Our children look to us as an example of strength, courage and hope. We won't let them down!!!


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Quote of the Day...

Experience is not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you.
-Aldous Huxley


How About a Little Laughter?

Laughter is Bubbly!

Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand...Mark Twain

One sunny afternoon about two or three months after I had finished chemotherapy and radiation, I was outside watching my husband, Walter, wash our car. I decided to help.

He really didn't want me to because I was still very weak and tired from the treatments for breast cancer, but being very persistent (translation: stubborn), I insisted. He finally agreed and brought a little stool for me to sit on and said I could wash the tires. I did this for a while, but it was very awkward sitting and scrubbing around the spokes in the wheel cover, so I stood up and leaned over.

My prosthesis popped out of my bra, fell in the soapy water and slid right under the car. We couldn't see it in all the bubbles, and Walter was afraid to move the car for fear of running over it. So I slid under the car and fumbled around and finally found it. Retrieval was difficult because it was so slippery in the soapy water, but I finally had it in hand and plopped it right back where it belonged, bubbles and all.

I've always wondered how many people witnessed that spectacle. You see, I forgot to mention that we live on the busiest street in our town.

We laugh a lot at our house--always have. Laughter is indeed the best medicine!
-Judy Averitt Hayes...Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor's Soul.

Hope this gave you all a great laugh! I know when I read it, I laughed pretty hard! Keep laughing ladies!

Leave a comment and tell me what you think...(click on comments)


Monday, March 3, 2008

Upcoming Luncheons

Dates are being scheduled for upcoming luncheons. If you would like to receive additional information about the upcoming luncheons or if you would like to be in charge of scheduling the luncheons for upcoming months, please contact survivorginny@yahoo.com.


Young Survivor Sisters - Utah

Young Survivor Sisters is dedicated to supporting women under the age of 45 who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Our goal is simple: to love, support, and offer guidance to individuals fighting breast cancer. Together we survive.
If you are under the age of 45, have breast cancer, and live in Utah - congratulations. You're officially a member of our group. We know...not the kind of club you wanted to join - but one that will provide the ultimate support and understanding through your cancer journey.
We invite you to fill in our New Member Information form so we can learn more about you and your current situation. All of the information received is 100% confidential and we do not give out emails or other contact information to anyone. We understand and respect your privacy.

Please feel free to post your comments on our blog or request additional information about our group. You can email us directly at youngsurvivorsisters@gmail.com.
Thank you.


Books Available

Ginny and I (Erin) have collected a bunch of really great breast cancer related books and would love to share them with anyone interested in reading...Just leave a comment here on the blog and we'll arrange getting you the book!

Here's the list:

Finding the “CAN” in Cancer
By Nancy Emerson, Pam Leight, Susan Boonan and Terri Schinazi

Fighting for our future- How Young Women Find Strength, Hope, and Courage While Taking Control of Breast Cancer-
Forward by Ann Curry of the Today Show
By Beth Murphy

Voices of Breast Cancer- The Haling Companion: Stories for Courage, Comfort & Strength
Edited by the Healing Project

Just a Lump in the Road- Reflections of Young Breast Cancer Survivors
By Debbie Leifert, Gina Castronova, Dr. Tamara Brennan, Jackie Ehrilich, Cindy Goldberg, & Donna Palmisciano

Breast Cancer Survivor Fitness Plan
By Carolyn M. Kaelin, M.D., M.P.H.

Facing the Mirror With Cancer- A Guide to using Make-up to Make a Difference
By Lori Ovitz and Joanne Kabak

Breast Cancer Husband-- How to Help your Wife and (Yourself) Through Diagnosis, Treatment, & Beyond
By Marc Silver

First You Cry- The Classic Inspiring Story of One Woman’s Triumph Over Breast Cancer
By Betty Rollin

The Middle Place- A Memoir of Kelly’s battle with breast cancer
By Kelly Corrigan

Crazy, Sexy, Cancer Tips-
By Kris Carr--Forward by Sheryl Crow

Tools & Tips From the Trenches- Heartfelt Advice for Survivors Families & Friends
By Mary Olsen Kelly

Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor’s Soul
By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, & Mary Olsen Kelly

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