Save the Ta Ta's

by Ally Harding, 5:00 AM
Along with October being my favorite month out of the year it's also a very important month for your "girls". Heidi Klum calls them "Franz and Hanz", men like to call them "titties", hate that word, but to us girls they're just those annoying things that swell up around our period, aren't big enough, or maybe they're too big, but most importantly, can kill us. 

We all know someone who had Breast Cancer. Maybe it was your Mom, your Grandma, your neighbor, your friend, or yourself. It's scary to think 1 in 8 women will get Breast Cancer. Just imagine yourself with 8 women in a room, look around and think "Wow, one of us will have cancer one day." It's a scary thought I know.

My mother in law was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in January of 2010. She felt a hard lump in her right breast and went to the doctor. They did a needle biopsy and confirmed it was infact cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes. She had been up to date on all her mammograms but one day out of the blue she felt this strange hard lump. I remember going to the surgeon's office with her to discuss options for a mastectomy or lumpectomy and her telling him "But I feel fine. I don't understand how I can have cancer." She went through months of chemo, lost her hair, lost tons of weight, had to quit her job, and was incredibly fatigued. I know it was frusgerating for her but it was also hard on Theo and I. She became very depressed and due to the chemo was always nauseous and everything tasted like metal. She never wanted to eat which lead to her losing incredible amounts of weight. She finished the chemo after 6 months and ended up having a right breast mastectomy and 10 radiation treatments. 

Seeing what she went through opened my eyes to what cancer is really about. Just like she said she felt fine and did up until she had to start chemo. Chemo is a scary powerful drug that can save your life but can also kill you. She ended up in the hospital numerous times with infections due to her compromised immune system from her low white blood cell counts. There were many, many days she wanted it all to end and die. She braved through it and in October of that year she, Theo and I walked in the Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure.

Unfortunately the story is not done here. What the doctor's don't tell you when you're going through chemo is there is a 1% chance of you developing leukemia from the chemo. My MIL was one of the lucky 1%. In January of 2012 she started to feel bad, developed fatigue and had cold like symptoms. She went to her oncologist and he assumed the worst but needed to do a bone marrow biopsy to confirm. His assumption was right, she had Acute Myelogenous Leukemia or AML for short.

The treatment for leukemia is chemo and a bone marrow transplant. Her Dr. was worried that since chemo brought on her AML who knows what will happen. She was admitted into the hospital that day. They started chemo and also started deciding which of her 6 siblings would be a possible match for a bone marrow transplant. 

There's a very small chance your siblings will be a match and none of hers were. They would have to find her a non family member donor. 

I won't bore you with everything but she did survive the intense chemo and they did find her a donor. She had the bone marrow transplant in May 2012 and her body has now accepted it 100%. 

Theo never told her this but when she was first diagnosed with AML her Dr. told him there's an 8% chance she will live. She beat those odds and has been cancer free for 1.5 years now.

Theo dancing with his Mom at our wedding.

Last November my Dr. felt a lump in my breast and wanted me to have a mammogram. My wedding was coming up in December so I put it in the back of my mind. I never got the mammogram,  I mean who wants to get diagnosed with cancer right before they get married? I went back to my Dr. in May and she still felt it. This time she insisted I get it done. I was terrified. I was 25 at the time and after seeing what my MIL went through I of course thought the worse. 

I went for the mammogram and ended up just needing an ultrasound that was fine. I had normal cystic breasts. 

Breast Cancer is all around us and I want to make sure all of you girls know to check your breasts each month. Right after Aunt Flow ends. I don't as often as I should for fear I might find something but it's better to find it early and get it treated.

I'm not able to walk the Race for the Cure this year due to being out of town, but I will donate money for research. With the chance of cancer rising and the risks getting higher each year I know personally I want all the the best research to be done. 

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  1. Such a great post! I am glad your mother in law is doing well! My mom was diagnosed as well about 1.5 years ago. She only had to have radiation because they caught it early. She is doing great so far and is cancer free! You're right, it's such a scary thing. It really teaches you to live life in the moment!

  2. What a great post! My grandmother was a breast cancer survivor :)

  3. This is such an inspiring post Ally! I'm so impressed by your MIL's strength and happy to hear that she's doing well now. My boyfriend and I have been wanting to do the bone marrow match for a while and this is the perfect example why.

  4. So happy your mother-in-law is ok and healthy now. My mother-in-law had it too, so scary. Cancer terrifies me!

  5. So happy to hear your MIL is doing well! Such a scary time. I also know someone who is a breast cancer survivor and cancer really does affect everyone involved. Thanks for such an inspiring post :)

  6. Wow your mother in law is a champ! So glad to hear she (and you!) are doing well! Very inspiring!

  7. Your MIL sounds like an amazing lady! I love October for so many reasons but breast cancer awareness is a big one! My whole family is wearing pink every Friday because breast cancer really is all around us and it's so nice to show your support whenever possible. I loved this post!

  8. That story gave me chills. Your mother-in-law has been through a lot...she's a survivor for sure! I've thankfully had very little cancer in my family so I don't know firsthand what that's all like, the thought of it terrifies me though. Thank you for sharing this story!


  9. Wonderful, real and RELEVANT post. Theo's mom is such an incredible woman and inspiration. My old coworker was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35 and underwent a double masectomy. Today she is cancer free, thank God. Prayers to everyone who is affected by this horrible disease and that hopefully a cure will be found soon.

  10. wow girl. thanks for sharing y'all's story!!!


  11. happy to hear both of you are doing well. all the best!

  12. What a great post and cheers to your strong, fighting MIL.


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