blog.jpg

Every October retailers, brands and organizations launch pink campaigns to generate awareness, funding and support to find a cure for breast cancer in honor of breast cancer awareness month. Just because it isn’t October, doesn’t mean you can’t shop for a cure this summer! 

Here is a roundup of some of my absolute favorite products and brands that are doing some great things for breast cancer awareness. Spending some time shopping is great. Shopping for a cause is even better.

xx M

 

Shop Pink for Summer


A: Like it? Click here

Twenty-five percent of the purchase price will be directed to the Pink Pony Fund of the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation.

B: Want it? Click here

Ford donates 100% of the net proceeds to the fight against cancer.

C: Want to sparkle? Click here

10% of the proceeds go to the fight against cancer.

D: Cute, right? Buy it. Click here

A percentage of the suggested retail price will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®

E: Bat those Lashes. Click here

$1.00 from the sale of each GOGO mascara will be donated to City of Hope's research, treatment, and education of women's cancers.

F: Love it? Click here

Twenty-five percent of the purchase price will be directed to the Pink Pony Fund of the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation.

G: Feeling Sporty? Click here.

Each purchase of this band helps to support the Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

H: Pretty in pink. Buy this nail color. Click here

For every bottle sold, $1 will be donated to the Breast Cancer Campaign.

 

Like M's stuff? Learn more about our guest blogger:










 





Amanda (M) is a full-time corporate professional and part-time writer living in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and dogs. She maintains the lifestyle blog Manda Panda Puddin' Pie where she shares her love of fashion, food, fitness, philanthropy, friends and family for all to read.

Read more about fashion, living and much more by clicking here.  

 

Just 10 Tips’ for Fathers, Spoken from Experience

By: Bruce Parker

Husband of Linda Parker, Miss Pink Warrior 2014

 

W


ell…you always knew you were the husband and the dad.  You probably took it for granted, if you are anything like me.  Just rolling along in life.  Doing the daily ‘thing’.  But now all of sudden, after hearing of your wife’s diagnosis, HUSBAND and FATHER all takes on a new and renewed meaning!  You and your loved ones, and most importantly, your wife, need you to be that person now more than ever.  

So…now you’re thrown into this crazy world of cancer.  Bottom line…cancer sucks!

How you as a man approach it, and support your family during this time of your lives, is essential.  Essential for your wife’s recovery and for your family’s wellbeing.  The fabric of your family DOES NOT need to be ripped apart by this disease.

I am going to assume you are and have been the support your wife needs before, during, and after surgery.  You have been wonderful lifting your wife up during this miserable life event.  But how have you done as your children’s Dad?  Hopefully as wonderfully…but just in case you’re wavering on that question…read on. 

Here are my “top 10” pieces of DAD advice for coping and dealing with your children and your wife’s battle with breast cancer.  Make sure Mom is involved with all of this even though she may not be at the top of her game right now.

 

1.   Just be there! Your physical presence is so important as you all go through this.  Forget that weekly basketball league you’re in.  Go shoot hoops with your kids instead.  Forget the extra 2 hours of overtime you can put in to help get the project at work done.  Help your child do their school project instead.  You get the idea.  Don’t you?  Sometimes nothing needs to be said at all.  Just the silence together – snuggling, holding hands, a quick kiss on the forehead – speaks a thousand words.

 

2.   Just do it!  The laundry which had always been neatly folded and tucked away is suddenly climbing the walls!  And you have no clean underwear!  Your daughter needs her black leggings for dance this afternoon and they are at the bottom of the basket!  Jump in and get the laundry done – separate the whites and the colors though!!  What about those dishes in the sink?  Get the kids to help put them in the dishwasher or dry them once you’ve hand washed them!

 

3.   Just turn to a higher power! Whatever faith (or non!) you believe in, let that provide you with strength for your soul.  I personally believe God oversees everything we are going through – good and bad – and will guide us through this rough time.  Take the kids to Sunday school, go for a walk and picnic in the woods and commune with nature (don’t forget the tick repellant – we don’t need to visit any more doctors!), or just take time to sit and hold your kids in your arms.  Pray or find time to just be quiet – yes – with your kids!!

 

4.   Just cherish every moment! They all suddenly seem important.  Correct?  Isn’t that how it should be every day anyway?

 

5.   Just let others help!  Some of you may think you can do it all!  That’s great!  But quite unrealistic.  Do as much as you can.  But, remember you need time to crash, too! My family and I were blessed by people at our church who set up “Take Them a Meal” twice a week for several weeks.  That so helped with meals!  Also, our older daughters and my wife’s sisters insisted in taking my wife to some chemo treatments and hung out with her while there.  It’s a terrible reason to have to bond, but a wonderful way for them to say how much they, too, cared and loved her and wanted to help be part of the healing process.  It helped me so much to have them help.  How about you let your 4 year old help fold the laundry.  You know how it is likely to get folded…but who cares!  Washcloths are washcloths!!  Let them bring Mommy a popsicle.  Let them bring you a popsicle if they offer!!  J  

 

6.   Just be honest!  This one is a tough one.  I have a now 14 year old daughter (was 12 at the time of the start of all of this) and two older 28 and 31 year daughters.  Through this entire ordeal, we kept it as real as possible.  We didn’t lie about anything or any prognosis or procedure that was going to happen.  We did not always tell everything that was going on, but when asked, we told the truth.  Some of your kids will be old enough to understand.  Include them in conversations.  For the younger kids, just let them know what may happen to Mommy as time goes on…she may lie down a lot because she’s tired and can’t play like she used to for a while, Mom may wear a hat because her hair is going to fall out, Daddy’s going to cook because Mommy has to rest.  Find a positive or something funny in there somehow... …”Let’s you and Dad have a tea party”…”Let’s go look for a pretty hat for Mommy”…”Sorry Daddy burned the chicken nuggets and french fries!  How about a pizza instead?!”

 

7.   Just make it “another normal day”!  Keep the routine as routine as possible!  YOU may now have to do the things your wife did while you were normally working – drop your daughter at day care in the morning, pick your son up from baseball practice.  Make sure there is a decent meal on the table for all.  If your wife is not a great cook, you may already have this duty (sorry ladies!)  Maybe you have now just become a master chef!  I’d say use the grill!!!  But remember to pull the meat out of the fridge in the morning or it won’t be defrosted!  Get the kids in the tub and clothes ready for the next day!  Then read a book and off to bed!  Now go hang with your wife, she needs you!

 

8.   Just be the support they need you to be!  Even after a miserable day of work, even after the dog got into the trash and dragged it through the house, even after you forgot to defrost the meat this morning (!)…you have to be the tower of strength for all!  You can rest later (think how your wife feels with all the chemicals she has running through her body)!  Listen to what your family is really saying to you.  Listen for the good things.  Praise and recognize them!  “I got my report card today!  I got all A’s and 2 B’s!”  That to me is something to really recognize – especially after all they too are going through.  If the report card is not so wonderful, just take a deep breath and work on how to help them make it better tomorrow.  Don’t beat em up.  Again, remember they are going through this with you and you know how hard this can be.  

 

9.   Just don’t whine and be wimpy!  Don’t be overbearing and grumpy because you’re tired and stressed.  These are big ones my wife always reminds me about!  Nobody needs to be any of these ways – especially now – especially to your wife and your children.  Positive in, positive out.  Have a friend or family member you can confide in.  If you don’t have one, ask at the hospital for a list of male support groups dealing with this same issue.  My Dad always used the phrase “Buck Up!” 

 

10.Just be patient!  Our kids will always push our buttons!  They will always push, push, and push even when they become 28 and 31!  They didn’t need Mom to get cancer to do that!!  But…now, more than ever, they need you to not flip out or bark a command every two minutes.  Take time to listen.  Wasn’t it Thomas Jefferson who said, “when angry count to ten,  if very angry count to 100”?  50 usually works well!!  Again, they’re in this with you and their feelings and anger and patience are being tested, too.


These are things that seem so second nature to me now.  It is a blur what I knew before all this started and what I learned along the way.  It embarrasses me to say that my wife had to get cancer to make me much more aware of all these important things.  

Turn off the TV, put your phone down, stay off the internet – especially WebMD – you’ll think you have everything – plus, they use big words I don’t understand!  That’s what real doctors are for!  Listen to inspirational music and surround yourself with positive people.

And last, but not least, make sure you take time to just be a family and feel the love.


About the Author: 

Bruce Parker is a resident of Woburn and husband to Linda Parker, Miss Pink Warrior 2014. He is the father of 3 beautiful girls and a grandfather to a beautiful granddaughter named Hayden.

Bruce and his family are affiliated with The Miss Pink Pageant, a local non-profit organization that supports families who have been impacted by breast cancer. Their mission is to support basic medical needs, raise awareness, educate and promote healthy lifestyles, but most of all, teach women that true beauty is based on their courage and hope to fight.  For more information, www.misspinkpageant.com.

 

 

 

Being diagnosed with cancer is an immediate immersion into a higher education one never aspires to. The learning curve is steep and endless; even after the “all clear”, you always keep an eye on current and successful treatments, just in case...

Even though I work in healthcare, I really didn't want to do my annual check up and when the MRI department called to reschedule and subsequently cancel my MRI appointment because it didn't fit into the radiologist’s schedule, I almost didn't reschedule until that nagging voice in the back of my head guilted me into rescheduling, not because I had a gut feeling something was wrong, but because I work in healthcare, I should be a good example of what to do by adhering to my scheduled exams. Thankfully, I did reschedule as this is when they discovered my cancer. Had I waited, my prognosis would have been far worse.

I learned...early detection is paramount. That lazy, being busy and procrastination is a poor excuse to avoid uncomfortable, unpleasant appointments.

Prior to my diagnosis, i was a competitive endurance athlete who ate healthfully, never smoked, drank minimally and worked out obsessively NEVER thinking once that I would be on the receiving end of this diagnosis. 
I learned...cancer doesn't discriminate; it is an equal opportunity illness that targets everyone and anyone regardless of age, lifestyle and economic status

The feeling of being punched in the stomach when you hear your diagnosis will be repeated over and over with every new diagnosis and/or change in diagnosis and/or change in treatment.
I learned this is where we earn the elite title of “Pink Warrior” (or Warrior in the case of other cancers), as this is when the fight for survival begins and takes on new meaning with every breath, appointment, treatment and surgery.

The words “friends and “family” are relative terms after a diagnosis. This journey separates the wheat from the chafe; friends become family, friends you thought of as family disappear and family, you discover, are just a coincidence of sharing the same blood line.

I learned...the people in my life today have exhibited an unconditional love unlike any other.

My boyfriend of 1.5 years, a senior vice president of a large national bank, “fired” me by text as his girlfriend the day I started radiation therapy and even though I didn't take him back, the following week he did it again because he felt he was entitled to “break up with me over the phone, he deserved it after a 1.5 years”. I thought if he found my new appearance appalling enough to leave me when I was physically and emotionally at my lowest, that the man who loved me and told me just the month before he wanted to marry me suddenly found me so physically revolting, what were the chances of me ever finding love again?

I learned...this said more about him than me, that the shame I felt about my appearance eventually gave way to pride; pride in my scars, that they are my life’s road map and a source of pride about the battle I fought and won and what I overcame during this battle.

For a long time I was ashamed that I dodged the chemo bullet; that my cancer diagnosis wasn't as valid as someone who had chemo and had lost their hair and the fact I “only” got away with 6.5 weeks of radiation therapy, and in the process, looking like a char broiled chicken breast due to radiation burns...never mind the fact I had a very thorough mastectomy and subsequent lymph node dissection...that my cancer diagnosis was more of a “cancer lite”.

I learned...regardless of your treatment plan, a cancer diagnosis is a cancer diagnosis is a cancer diagnosis.

Anniversaries will never have the same connotation again. With a cancer diagnosis, we have many anniversaries to chose from, from diagnosis date(s) to surgical dates to treatment dates to completion dates.
I learned...the most important date is the day we’re given the survivor title.

Forever I kept looking for a return to my state of “normal”. After my diagnosis, my world was turned around and upside down, nowhere near “normal”. I assumed it would return after my mastectomy and had a very vague feeling of “normal” when my surgeon called to report the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes necessitating a lymph node dissection. That vague feeling of “normal” immediately vanished into thin air and never returned. I thought it would return when I completed radiation therapy, but due to the fact my boyfriend broke up with me, upsetting an already fragile psyche, but it didn’t, nor did it return after my reconstruction.

I learned...from other cancer survivors, there will never again be a sense of “normal”. We never regain the carefree normal we had before we were diagnosed. Abnormal IS the new normal and needs to be embraced, otherwise it lends itself to bigger and not so better issues.

I work in healthcare. As a registered nurse and interventional radiologic technologist, I have a long history of taking care of cancer patients. I always prided myself in being good at my job, but unbeknowst to me, I also had a “them” as in those who were diagnosed with cancer, and “us” approach, meaning those of us who didn’t have cancer. 
I learned....with the flip of a switch, I went from being an “us”, to a “them”, that there is NO difference between “us” and “them” other than a diagnosis.

Before my diagnosis, I was a worrier. As a single mom I worried about everything from my boys welfare, to money to work. I worried about today, tomorrow and next week.
I learned...to be thankful for the present, because it’s just that; a gift-the gift of the hear and now.

Before my diagnosis I was always worried about saying something that might offend; we are a fickle population obsessed with being politically correct and not being offensive. To my own detriment, I kept my truths and my opinions to myself lest I offend someone.

I learned...to speak my truths. When I found my voice, I found my freedom.

I had many days where I wanted to die, when I wanted to pull the covers over my head and never get out of bed. When people would ask how I was doing, I would struggle, as I know they wanted to hear I was great, but the harsh reality was some days even breathing was a struggle. Some times I would reply with a “not so good, today is a hard day”, to which 90% of them would reply “look at the bright side, at least you have your boys”. 

 


I learned....NEVER reply to ANYBODY’S struggle with a comment like that, as your negating their feelings. I also learned that people do this because they aren’t capable of handling the person’s truth; that life, because of physical and emotional difficulties, is a struggle. HUG THEM. Be present. These are the best things you can do for them.

Join us for our 5th Annual Miss Pink Pageant

 

Our event gathers about 400 people from our community to hear and celebrate our Pink Warriors. Help us raising awareness and saving lives through educating the community and raising funds to help these women with basic medical needs, emotional support and much more.

Purchase our tickets to this formal dinner event under Events section

 

The Miss Pink Pageant invites you to join us on October 17th for the 2nd Annual Boobie Bash. This costume party will be the talk of the town. Help our local breast cancer survivors and their families as we raise funds that will go directly to them. 


Event takes place at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, MA at 6:00pm. Tickets are $25 at the door and $20 to purchase in advance. We can't wait to see you at this spooktacular event!

For more information, go to: https://misspinkpageant.ticketbud.com/2nd-annual-boobie-bash

Page 5 of 6