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

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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