Stepping Out

Rachel was an “all in” kind of person.

If I didn’t know that before I learned it Saturday when I had the privilege of hearing her friends and family, many of whom had come from as far as Australia and England, speak about her friendship, her wit, her joy for life. Her unbreakable commitment and passion for anyone and anything she cared about.

Rachel Cheetham Moro

If Rachel liked something about you, she was your friend for life.  She didn’t do anything halfway, or half-assed like her dedication to exposing breast cancer’s ugly truth or the horrendous fact that little has changed since the inception of pink awareness…Where does that leave us? How do we make a difference now?  Can we accomplish anything if we’re not all in, like Rachel?

Feeling like a woman on a mission, I was fortunate to speak with Kathi Kolb, The Accidental Amazon and Sarah Horton, Being Sarah about my idealized, all-consuming quest to end breast cancer and both ladies wisely pointed out, it’s nearly impossible to always be all in.

Rachel was an amazing exception.  Activism is tough, draining work. It’s exhausting diligently keeping one’s nose to the grindstone only to hit wall after wall with little results. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing, but sometimes, for sanity’s sake, one needs to step back, look around, assess the situation, refresh and regroup.

I think it’s time I step out for a while.  To refresh, regroup and process the losses, not just those of last week, but all the losses over the years, the nearly 30 years since my mother was first diagnosed.  When breast cancer entered my vernacular and never left.

To learn what I can do, discover my role.  Thirty years is a long time for breast cancer to linger around the edges and often the forefront of my thoughts.

It’s time to contribute in ways that matter, in this fight to cure, prevent, eradicate this scourge that takes so much.  Maybe that means approaching this blog differently.  Being a better resource for those recently diagnosed.  I’m not a scientist.  The laboratory is not my place.  So I don’t know yet, but I do know breast cancer cannot continue to steamroll everyone in its path.

I want to be all in and I’m off to discover what that means for me.

To figure out where to go from here.

While stepping out to regroup, I leave you with this:

Somewhere in the sands of the Jersey shore or hiding in the food court of the Monmouth Mall is my little son’s tooth.  His first baby tooth to fall, lost forever while I was at Rachel’s memorial service.

Time stops for no one.

Like the gray Atlantic waves Saturday, life moves on.

What are we going to do with it?

17 thoughts on “Stepping Out

  1. Stacey,I am so glad you were at Rachel's service to bear witness to her life and all that she gave us.I too am feeling a need to regroup after this loss. It has been a hard blow. Sending love and wishes of healing.CB


  2. Stacey,I so understand the need to step back. Grief demands that we dig in our heels and take stock.I will miss you; I will keep you in my prayers; I will look forward to your return, when you will tell us what you found along the way. And if there is anything I can do for you in the interim, you will know where to find me.Sending love and hugs,jms


  3. Stace, I was so glad to get a chance to talk with you and to meet you on Saturday. Your description of your son's baby tooth falling out somewhere on the New Jersey shore, while we mourned and celebrated Rachel, is so poignant, it makes my heart ache. We all feel like the world should stop when we have to absorb a loss so enormous, and yet……it never does. And children in particular remind us where we all truly live, which is in the present.I think we all need some time to heal. I know I do. I was grateful I was able to be there, but now I need time to reflect, be peaceful, find some simple, everyday joy to help soothe the hurt.As Jody said, you know where to find me. Anytime, I am here. We all share many of the same feelings, and we can at least share them, and perhaps lighten the burden of our shared loss.xoxoxoxoKathi


  4. Stacey,I THANK you for taking that drive. I see your presence as the that of all of us…… You bore witness for all of your cyber-sisters. Like you, I am still fine tuning my voice. The difference? You have little ones and I can continue to fly by the seat of my pants in rebel rousing. Please let me know if you have plans to visit the city at ANY time in the future. I'd love to meet for lunch. Stay in touch…… I can always make it as far as Westchester, too!!! And, on behalf of Army of Women…. as your NYS fearless AOW leader…… let me know if you see any \”pink extravaganzas\” coming up in your neck of the woods. If they are going to do them anyway, we can at least TRY to get a presence for AOW at the events. For me, these events are all about getting the women to sign up…..I know I am starting to see the golf outings popping up on Long Island. If you just forward me any info about anything you see, I will take it from there or I'll get Dr. Love's crew in California to jump in and see if we can get this Army at 1 million women!xoxoxAnneMarie


  5. Stacey, I'd like to add my voce to those of your sisters. I understand, even as a care giver, that it's impossible to be full on all the time. You're right to step back. To recognise the exhaustions and care for yourself. It's simply unfair that the advocacy about breast cancer has to be done solely by the women who have been diagnosed with it. It's up to all of us. So I'll be a part of standing in for you while you regroup, along with your sisters on here. xxx


  6. Dear Jody, I won't be totally gone. I just need to regroup. Think a bit. I hope I can write again soon about something that really ignites a spark of some sort. Just need to figure out what that is. Love to you.


  7. Thank you, Kathi, for this lovely comment. Maybe it is reflection I need, but somehow I don't think it's enough. I need to figure out how to do more. In the mean time, I'll take some time to just enjoy my family and see what comes to me. Thank you for welcoming me on Saturday. You made me feel like an old friend. Sending hugs to you. Keep tweeting!


  8. AnnMarie, I'll be in touch. We definitely have much to talk about. Thank you for your supportive words. I was thinking of you on Saturday. I didn't personally know anyone when I walked in, but i didn't feel alone because of you and all our Sherpas. Pretty incredible. Talk soon. xoxoxo


  9. Ronnie, what can I say? I'm touched you took time to read my post and leave this sweet comment. Maybe advocacy is like the ocean, sometime moving in full force and sometimes we need to fall back. I'll figure it out and it won't take long. Thank you for sharing Sarah with us this week. I loved meeting her and had a very difficult time saying goodbye. She's very special. Hugs to Liverpool.


  10. Oh, Stacey, thirty years is a really long time to deal with breast cancer. I understand your need to take a break. I think we are all feeling a little broken right now. I think we are all feeling a need to regroup, refocus, heal, scream, cry, write, not write, reflect – whatever. Take some time for yourself, but don't stay quiet too long. I panicked when I first read your plans to step back. Then I realized I was being selfish. We need you, Stacey, in whatever role you choose. Good luck figuring stuff out, but remember, even if you don't, that's OK too. We are all in this together. And the photo of your boy, adorable!! Those toothless photos are treasures.


  11. Stacey,This is awesome, as usual. I've sometimes wondered the same thing about being all in, and where I can be of help while not letting it consume my life. Some of us are activists–some of us are researchers–some are both–others illustrate through our own experiences. It all works. Enjoy your break. I look forward to seeing what you do next. Whatever you choose to focus on, please don't stop writing. You have a clear and wonderful voice. xox


  12. Nancy, I think you understand. I'm happy to have this time of reflection, no pressure to get a new post out, just to be for a while. I'm thinking of NBCC in May. Maybe I can learn something. Thank you for your very kind words here. I'm glad my writing resonates in some way. Yours always does with me. Love to you.


  13. Jackie, thank you! I''m glad you understand and I'm not leaving, just trying to figure out what matters. I don't want to write crap just to post something. You know, it has to mean something. I won't be long. Thank you for always reading and giving me such inspiring comments. xoxo


  14. Stacey,Like everyone else, I've felt the need to regroup and didn't write a blog this week. The loss of Rachel and Susan, as well as two of my close friends to breast cancer, and the Komen fiasco, has left me somewhat down and frustrated. I just finished a new article about Nancy Brinker that has left me feeling even more helpless about the search for \”the cure.\” Then add the sad tales of the Whitney Houston's of the world, who seemingly have it all but succumb to drugs, while we're out here tap dancing as fast as we can to stay alive. It's all so overwhelming.Love to you as you recharge your batteries. Perhaps we should all get together in the middle of the country, book some rooms at a reasonable price and see where our brainstorming and conversations about unknown topics will take us. There are several cancer conferences, but I don't think they are nearly the powerhouses that we are, collectively and individually.XOXOXO,Brenda


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