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

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.




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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