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Author Archives: Marybeth

A note from Marybeth: The Greatest Gift

It’s now 11 years since I found myself on the front lines of cancer – I entered this second decade of my saved life a few weeks ago, and thinking about the enormous gift of time I’ve been given made me remember the last installment of the blog I did when my 7 year anniversary […]

Ten Years After | ” Serenity’s Song”

Kicking back, chilling out, taking it easy… anyone dealing with a cancer diagnosis will hear multiple times from many different sources how important it is to relax and de-stress, but talking that talk is oftentimes much easier than walking that walk. After all, ours is not the most relaxed society on earth. Keeping up at […]

Ten Years After | “Letting Go”

There’s nothing like cancer to bring the elements of life into clear focus. Priorities become very clear, and extraneous thoughts and actions are as easy to toss away as a seashell into the water. In my own life, throwing things away did not come easily. I had no trouble getting rid of things I no […]

Ten Years After | “Being Number One”

One of the experts in Beauty Pearls for Chemo Girls, massage therapist Gayle McDonald, provides this parting pearl of wisdom for the readers – Throw out everything in your life that you don’t need and isn’t working. Draining friends, needing to have your house spotless, being president of the PTA – if it’s too much […]

Ten Years After

“Do you think I can remember what grade I got on a test ten years ago?” the sixth grade teacher demanded of her honor students, who were collectively freaking out over the poor exam grades we’d all received. I was 12 at the time, and I never forgot that moment. I guess what struck me […]

My New Boobs Series | “The Greatest Gift”

My new boobs and I have been living together for many years now. They are very much a part of me, to the point where sometimes I forget what an arduous journey it was to get them. I can also declare with complete honesty that having cancer was not such a bad thing after all. […]

My New Boobs Series | “A Full Figured Girl”

There were a couple of funny things that happened once my reconstruction was over. My original breast surgeon, who declared me crazy for deciding to have my breasts removed, turned out to be wrong in every way that mattered. As life would have it, my left boob tissue, which looked healthy enough on the operating […]

My New Boobs Series | “Boobs Up”

It took nine months to fill the expanders, swap them out for implants and have new nipples grafted into place, but by February of 2006, I had my new boobs. Everything I had been dreading and knew would be a challenge was just what I expected: schlepping into the City for saline infusions, dealing with […]

My New Boobs Series | “Epic Fail”

Memorial Day weekend 2005 found me heading away from the Jersey Shore to Manhattan, where my surgeons waited to perform double mastectomies and my coveted DIEP flap reconstruction. Now, the thing about the DIEP that is really challenging is that it’s a long surgery. There can be complications, and success is not guaranteed. Not a […]

My New Boobs Series | “Finding Dr. DIEP”

About a week after we’d left the Long Island doctors office, his booking secretary called me, cheerily inquiring as to where she should mail the billing papers so that we could move forward with the DIEP surgery. “We’re not moving forward,” I told her. “You’re not having mastectomies?” she asked, sounding horrified. “Sure I am,” […]