Be Your Own Advocate!

Hello readers!

If there is one thing that I would like to highlight during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I would say, “BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE!” I would like to share with you my experience, and hope that it will push someone who reads this to go that extra step to save their life or someone else’s.

I was 34 years old. My right breast did not feel quite right. It was kind of hard on one side. I told my GP during my annual exam about my concern. She performed a breast exam and told me it was “dense breast tissue.” (I will use DBT going forward.) The doctor would order a mammogram, but said it might be useless because DBT is very normal in young women. DBT also reads “white” in a mammogram. I later found out, Cancer reads “white” as well. However, that little bit of information was left out of the conversation. The results of my mammogram came in and I was told, “all is normal.” Yay! That’s what I wanted to hear. I continued with yearly mammograms after that as a precaution. Each year, I was given the green light, that all was ok. My doctor even sent me to a specialist to possibly have the area biopsied. He examined me, and told me that he was not going to do a biopsy. He said that the hard area in my breast was a normal trait in women with DBT, and that I should not worry about it.

A few years later at age 41, I went in for my annual mammogram in December, I was told “all is normal.” However, I was always very tired and had been getting colds constantly that winter. Later I would find out that my body was in the biggest fight of my life. No wonder I was always tired and sick! One month later, I kept feeling a slight dull throbbing sensation at one specific point in my right breast, and that area felt harder than in the past. I made an appointment with my GP. I was told again, that it was my DBT, and that my mammogram from one month earlier was ok, so I should not worry about it. I think she was beginning to think I had a bit of Hypochondria going on. I was beginning to wonder that about myself too. She said if it continued to bother me, to come back in….um…isn’t that what I was already doing? Ok, on with my life. So, within the next few months, the dull throbbing became more consistent, and I started to feel it all the way through to my back. I would describe it to people as if you were to stick a rod through my chest, the dull hollow throb would be in exactly the same point in my back. As women, we grow up learning how to push through with our normal daily lives, and set any pain we may be experiencing aside. It is only until we take time to remember, hey, maybe I should take care of myself for a change, and get this checked out! So I made another appointment. This was now 5 months after my December mammogram. My doctor did a breast exam and ordered another mammogram. This time the results showed a change in the white mass of DBT. I immediately went for a biopsy, which came back positive for Stage 1 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Fortunately for me, it was caught early. I had a lumpectomy, lymph node removal and 6 weeks of radiation therapy. I had just saved my own life!

Since then, the state of California formally enacted the Breast Density Law on April 1st, 2013. This required that all women with DBT to receive a full explanation letter of their mammogram results, which advises the patient and the doctor to pursue additional screening options. There are only 5 states that have this law, which seems crazy to me. Every woman in any state should receive full information about their breast exam. Please check out the link below detailing the information on the law.

Again, I cannot stress enough to “BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE,” and question anything and everything that is going on with your body. My only regret looking back, is that I should have gone outside of the network of doctors I was seeing, and gotten a 2nd opinion. Today I am strong and living a good life. I wish only the best for you and your loved ones as well.

Please stay strong and fight for your life!

Hello readers!

If there is one thing that I would like to highlight during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I would say, “BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE!” I would like to share with you my experience, and hope that it will push someone who reads this to go that extra step to save their life or someone else’s.

I was 34 years old. My right breast did not feel quite right. It was kind of hard on one side. I told my GP during my annual exam about my concern. She performed a breast exam and told me it was “dense breast tissue.” (I will use DBT going forward.) The doctor would order a mammogram, but said it might be useless because DBT is very normal in young women. DBT also reads “white” in a mammogram. I later found out, Cancer reads “white” as well. However, that little bit of information was left out of the conversation. The results of my mammogram came in and I was told, “all is normal.” Yay! That’s what I wanted to hear. I continued with yearly mammograms after that as a precaution. Each year, I was given the green light, that all was ok. My doctor even sent me to a specialist to possibly have the area biopsied. He examined me, and told me that he was not going to do a biopsy. He said that the hard area in my breast was a normal trait in women with DBT, and that I should not worry about it.

A few years later at age 41, I went in for my annual mammogram in December, I was told “all is normal.” However, I was always very tired and had been getting colds constantly that winter. Later I would find out that my body was in the biggest fight of my life. No wonder I was always tired and sick! One month later, I kept feeling a slight dull throbbing sensation at one specific point in my right breast, and that area felt harder than in the past. I made an appointment with my GP. I was told again, that it was my DBT, and that my mammogram from one month earlier was ok, so I should not worry about it. I think she was beginning to think I had a bit of Hypochondria going on. I was beginning to wonder that about myself too. She said if it continued to bother me, to come back in….um…isn’t that what I was already doing? Ok, on with my life. So, within the next few months, the dull throbbing became more consistent, and I started to feel it all the way through to my back. I would describe it to people as if you were to stick a rod through my chest, the dull hollow throb would be in exactly the same point in my back. As women, we grow up learning how to push through with our normal daily lives, and set any pain we may be experiencing aside. It is only until we take time to remember, hey, maybe I should take care of myself for a change, and get this checked out! So I made another appointment. This was now 5 months after my December mammogram. My doctor did a breast exam and ordered another mammogram. This time the results showed a change in the white mass of DBT. I immediately went for a biopsy, which came back positive for Stage 1 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Fortunately for me, it was caught early. I had a lumpectomy, lymph node removal and 6 weeks of radiation therapy. I had just saved my own life!

Since then, the state of California formally enacted the Breast Density Law on April 1st, 2013. This required that all women with DBT to receive a full explanation letter of their mammogram results, which advises the patient and the doctor to pursue additional screening options. There are only 5 states that have this law, which seems crazy to me. Every woman in any state should receive full information about their breast exam. Please check out the link below detailing the information on the law.

Again, I cannot stress enough to “BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE,” and question anything and everything that is going on with your body. My only regret looking back, is that I should have gone outside of the network of doctors I was seeing, and gotten a 2nd opinion. Today I am strong and living a good life. I wish only the best for you and your loved ones as well.

Please stay strong and fight for your life!

https://pinklotus.com/powerup/breastcancer101/the-california-breast-density-law/

LOVE!

Hello readers,

Give yourself a big hug! My theme for the month of February is “Love.” Just a few days ago was the three year anniversary for my double mastectomy and reconstruction. The long, almost seven hour surgery was performed by @drkristifunk from the @pinklotusbreastcenter and @drrituchopra from @ordonchopra. That day, I had to love my life, and myself enough to give up my breasts. I was surrounded with the outpouring of love from friends, family, my amazing doctors, and their staff. I was given a new start, along with all the courage and support needed to love back, live, and create the world of RavenPink.

This journey of love will take you to some of my favorite places, while sharing stories of love and more. Please follow me on Instagram , Twitter for weekly insights and special moments. I wish all of you the gift of “Love” this month.

Stay strong, Love, Live and Fight!

XO,

Danielle

Holiday DIY Wreath Making

Earlier this month, I decided to take a wreath making workshop at the new Rolling Greens in DTLA. It was such a fun and inspiring experience, that genuinely got me into the holiday mood. The spiked hot cocoa and the delicious pie tasting by PyesBakery.com added to the fun and excitement of the day. You can search out a workshop in your area, or just buy the following items at your local craft store, like a Michael’s. I think next year, I am going to host a small kickstart party to the holidays and invite some girlfriends over to the house for wreath making, cookies, hot cocoa and a holiday chic-flick playing in the background. It’s not too late for you to do this. It’s really easy and fun! Here is what you will need for a basic wreath…allow yourself to get creative!

Makes 1 wreath

1 dried vine wreath (size is up to you)

1 pkg green floral wire

Small garden shears

Garden Gloves

BASE GREENERY>fresh or dried greens such as various pine, evergreen, eucalyptus trimmings, etc.

ACCENT GREENERY>such as pine cones, flowers, seed pods, etc. Other add on items could be 2” wide decorative holiday ribbon, candy canes or ornaments.

Instructions>

Start by picking a focal point on the wreath and trim down some of the stems of the base trimmings. Lay the base trimmings onto the wreath in the fashion that you want. Then add accent trimmings to really define your theme. I created a non-traditional look by only putting greens on one portion of the wreath and left the rest of the vine wreath exposed. You can choose to do whatever you want. This is your wreath! Once you have explored and decided how you want your wreath to look, you can start attaching the greens with the floral wire. Start by sticking one end of the wire into the wreath next to the trimming/s you want to tie down. Pull that wire partially through the vine wreath to the back side. Loop the other end of the wire over the trimming/s and pull the wire to the back side of the wreath. Then you can twist the two ends of the wire together tightly until the trimming/s are secure. Cut down or bend the remaining wire into the vine wreath, so that the ends are not exposed. Keep doing this until you have secured all trimmings. Fluff up the greenery, so that you can’t see the wires. You can continue to add accent trimmings and greenery to your wreath until you are completely satisfied with the design. Once you think you are finished do what I call a “shake test.” Turn your wreath upside down and gently shake it to make sure all trimmings are secure.

**to keep your wreath fresher longer, lightly mist it daily with a spray bottle of water..

Sip some cocoa, smile and enjoy your holidays!

Stay Strong, Fight, Live & Enjoy!