Bringing Up Goliath

Over 50 reboot! Life after breast cancer.

Sell By…

The hard truth about blogging…
Specifically, blogging in our breast cancer community, is facing we have an expiration date.  Or rather our “sell by” date.  The date we’re forced to realize, from here on out, we’re not so fresh or at our best anymore. 

We learn we’re mortal.    

I suppose there’s lots of ways to learn that, if we look hard enough, but in this blogosphere, we get it without trying.  I don’t need to ascend Everest or jump out of a plane to grasp that life is short.  All I have to do is check Facebook and follow some Breast Cancer bloggers.

We are aware.

We know better than anyone, breast cancer lives.  We know that once it latches on, it stays for the whole ride– Whether actively riding shotgun or sitting dormant in the backseat.  We know we won’t travel solo ever again.

I’m just thankful these days, leaving it in the backseat is an option.  I can close the door and ignore it for a while.  I’m lucky that way.

The thing is– on any given day that can change.  We all aren’t lucky all the time and by following our community, that’s a lesson learned over and over.

Recently, we lost a blogger named, Carolyn Frayn.  I didn’t know Carolyn.  She started blogging after I had stopped, but last year Nancy’s Point shared a post Carolyn had written for a blog called Get Up Swinging, which caught my eye and chilled my bones.

Carolyn and I were diagnosed on the exact same day. 

May 1, 2009

It wasn’t mammogram day.  It wasn’t biopsy day.  Diagnosis…Breast Cancer.  Those words, said to us on the very same day.

In my mind, that day had been all about me.  That’s my day.  If ever there’s a day to be selfish, being told you have breast cancer is the one.  I still see myself front and center on that terrible day and now, learning someone else shared it feels like getting doused with icy water and told to wake up.  

It wasn’t just me.  Someone else had the same crappy day.
That fact sinks heavily in my brain and lays there, as that date does.

Of course, it’s possible.  Big world and all, but that day was never about others.  It was all mine…until it wasn’t.  

It was the day that changed everything.  The day that ultimately brought me here to blog.

That day brought Carolyn here.

Only she’s no longer here.

One day, two paths.  

So many “what ifs.”   She must have wondered.  As I still do.

And, I face my mortality once again.

May 1, 2009 must have been my Sell By date.  The day I got off the shelf, forced to deal with my new reality called breast cancer.   As it was Carolyn’s.  Without our community here, I never would have known about her.  I never would have known the date that changed my life would eventually take hers– And I am so sorry for her loss and the shattering of yet, one more family.

Maybe this is why we blog.  Amidst the most difficult of life’s moments…to learn about others like us.  To share our stories and work for change.  Maybe that’s why we do it. So, we’ll realize despite the sad stories, there are amazing women out there we never would have met.  We’re not alone.  If nothing else, blogging about breast cancer teaches us that.  

It has to be for something.

Please take a minute and check out Carolyn’s blog, Art of Breast Cancer.  She was one hell of a writer and photographer.

7 responses to “Sell By…”

  1. Hi Stacey, This post certainly resonates with me. As you know, last March Lisa Bonchek Adams died, and she died on the exact date, March 6th, that my mother died. I felt horrible for many reasons when Lisa died and one of those reasons was entirely selfish. That date was taken. It was my mother's date and now I had to share it. Cancer takes many lives every single day, of course, but still, well, I guess you know what I mean. That date was supposed to be my family's date. Thank you for writing about my friend, Carolyn, and also for mentioning her blog. She was a fabulous person and wonderful friend. I know this even though, of course, we never met in person. This connection we have with others who have heard \”those words\” is so strong and so deep. As you said, blogging about breast cancer certainly teaches us we aren't alone. Maybe this is why we blog. It's certainly one reason I do. Thank you for this post.


  2. Nancy, thank you so much for this comment! I was worried about this post and actually, debated whether or not to put it out there. I didn't want to come across as insensitive to Carolyn, but in the end, I needed to share my perspective. As with all my posts and most likely, yours, if I'm thinking it maybe someone else does, too. So, thank you for sharing how you felt about March 6th! I hear you and understand. It's hard to say thoughts out loud sometimes, because it seems a little silly or yes, insensitive, but it's our story to tell. As always, I'm amazed how often our thoughts collide. Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing. Happy New Year to you!


  3. OMG, Nancy! There are bound to be these shattering coincidences in our community, aren't there? There are so damn many of us…


  4. Wow, Stacey. As I said to Nancy, there are so damn many of us, there are bound to be many of us who share important dates. I have several friends who share dates of diagnosis, and Carolyn would have been the first to acknowledge the horrible crapshoot that is cancer, and the horrible coincidences. It's one reason why she agreed to be on Lara's blog, to help educate about the still-wretched percentages about mets. None of us can truly feel like we're out of the woods. Thanks for writing this. It's good to see you here, Stacey. I miss Carolyn horribly. She was a dear, amazing person, and I feel lucky to have had her friendship. I hate the stinking disease. xoxo, Kathi


  5. Thanks for writing, Kathi. I'm begining to understand how much Carolyn meant to you. You wrote Carolyn blogged \”to help educate about the still-wretched percentages about mets.\” Ultimately, isn't that why we all blog? Maybe, we begin as storytellers, but as the losses keep piling up, we have a bigger mission. That's why I'm back. So much more work to be done. We can only hope change and discovery come soon. Keep writing!! I'm so very sorry about Carolyn, all our friends…yeah, this crappy disease.


  6. Stacey, I'm so glad you are back in the blogosphere!! I've missed you. Yes, Carolyn's death really is sad, and I have grieved for her, as well as others who lost their lives to this horrible disease. People keep dying; I wish there were a cure.


  7. Hi Beth! Thank you! I'm happy to be back. There's so much more work to be done. The number of people losing their lives seems staggering. Perhaps, because we know so much, but that's why we write, I suppose. Hopefully, it helps. xoxo


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About Me

Diagnosed 5 days before my 45 birthday with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Stage 1, ER/PR+, Her2-. This was 9 years after losing my mom to breast cancer, so in a way, I wasn’t surprised. A bilateral mastectomy followed by reconstruction, oophorectomy, and years of Tamoxifen & Letrozole would follow all while being a wife and mom to two young boys. My mission now is to take control of what I can. For too long, I let life happen to me. Time to have it happen FOR me. I hope you’ll come along. These are my thoughts and stories.

Let’s stay in touch!

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