Fighting Breast Cancer Together

Meridith’s mom as she was going through chemo. She is in the front. Several members of her church shaved their heads to honor her.

Meridith’s mom as she was going through chemo. She is in the front. Several members of her church shaved their heads to honor her.

“I want to tell you about my mom. Two years ago this past summer, she had a lump checked out. They biopsied it after a mammogram and discovered she had stage 3 breast cancer. The sad thing is that she discovered this lump the prior December. She ignored it in hopes that it would go away. Soon she discovered that cancer (Ductal carcinoma) had spread to her lymph nodes. She had a lumpectomy, then she had the lymph nodes under her arm removed. After almost a year of treatment, she is cancer-free! She now struggles with lymphodema after having her lymph nodes removed and one of the only things that help her, besides wearing a sleeve, is Posh's Fresh, Creamy Milk Body Butter. She was told she needed intense moisturization. As an Influencer with Posh, my job is to keep her stocked in FCM. She also liked Good Hydrations. Anyways, my point is that it's not only important to check yourself for lumps but see a doctor right away if you notice something is not right.”

- Meridith


“My name is Danielle and I am a 5 month breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed at 29 years old. I found a lump while I was breastfeeding my daughter. I went through chemotherapy and had a double mastectomy and will do reconstruction.”

- Danielle Swardson


“I was diagnosed in January 2019—yes, this year. I was home from getting my biopsy done and got a call that I landed a new job I really wanted. I accepted and would start in 2 1/2 weeks. I got the results and, sure enough, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I told my surgeon I needed the lumpectomy surgery ASAP. She got me in and 2 weeks later I started my new job. I was still very tired but I did a great job faking it! (lol) Then I got news that I needed more surgery. I didn't want to tell my new job what I had just been through, but now I had to 'fess up. I was given a couple days and that's all I took for my second surgery. I was really exhausted but I put on my warrior boots and kept plugging along. But work was very good to me and made sure I was doing very light duty and my little circle of people who knew had watchful eyes on me. Also, at the same time all this was going on, my relationship I was in went south and I had to flee from a very stress-filled situation. It's taken me a bit to recover from life's challenges. But I had an "a-ha" moment when I was going through breast cancer with 2 back-to-back surgeries, when that was the minor stuff I was going through. It's truly a wake up time. Guess who wasn’t taking of of herself? Me! So now, even though life can still have its challenges, I can't do a thing for anyone until I can take some moments for myself. It is true that being a caretaker and doing everything for everyone else just drains you. There is nothing left to give; the well has run dry. So I make the time to replenish ME, and I'm going to live life the best I can. That's my story. My coworker is a Posh rep and I love the products and their names. Thank you for reading my story.”

- Anita Rose

“A big reason I joined Perfectly Posh is because 5 years and 2 months ago I was diagnosed with Stage 1 HER2+ breast cancer at the age of 46. I wanted to still use FUN products that smelled good but was terrified of things like sulfates and parabens. I joined this company because we dont use ingredients like these in our products.

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Here is my story... My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40 and died from it at 45. I miss her deeply. So in the back of my mind, I suppose I always expected that someday it would happen to me. On August 15, 2014 I got that call that no one ever wants to get. I fell to my knees in tears. I was terrified. What followed was a barrage of tests, labs, and appointments with all kinds of specialists. I had my double mastectomy a month later on September 15. I was so blessed with amazing support from all my friends, my family, and my husband. Even though the cancer was not in my lymph nodes, they recommended I do chemotherapy because of the type of breast cancer I had. So I agreed to 4 rounds of chemo every 3 weeks. The holiday season that year was not very fun for me. To top it off, my chest expander became infected and I had to have emergency surgery in the middle of chemo...not good! For a few months I ran around with one breast. You can imagine what a sight that was...especially since I had no hair. After chemo ended I started radiation therapy. I was supposed to do 33 rounds but had to stop after 8 because they had burned a HOLE in my left breast. I was secretly glad...I never wanted to do radiation anyway. But what followed was a disastrous series of surgeries to try to get the hole to close. It just wouldn’t stay closed. Finally I decided to take the expanders out altogether and do natural reconstruction which meant moving my latissimus muscles from my back to my front and filling it in with fat grafting from other areas of my body. I finally healed! After 13 surgeries over the course of 3 years and losing all my hair, I had finally healed. I was done. Today, as I look back, I am grateful for what the experience taught me about myself and about life. 99% of what we sweat really is small stuff. I am thankful to my family and friends and mostly of all to God for pulling me through. The photo below is me right after finishing chemotherapy and on the left is me celebrating 5 years cancer free in Aruba this last August.”

- Laura Muckey

August 2011, after Nancy’s surgery. Taken before chemo treatments started.

August 2011, after Nancy’s surgery. Taken before chemo treatments started.

“One night in June 2011, I rolled over on the couch and felt a hard knot in my breast. I didn’t remember feeling it before and I knew I had to do something soon. I called my primary care physician the next morning and saw him that same day. His office called to schedule a mammogram for the next week. The Women’s Clinic at Baptist Hospital in Memphis did the mammogram and an ultrasound. The doctor that reviewed my tests felt a biopsy was necessary. The biopsy was scheduled and I settled in to wait for the results. I must say that at no time did I ever think it was going to be cancer so I was in a state of shock when I got the call on my way home from work that Friday afternoon. However, within minutes of hearing the diagnosis, God’s peace immediately settled upon me and never left me. My church family immediately starting covering me in prayer. Never once did I doubt that God was in full control. When he called with the report, my primary care physician had already scheduled an appointment for me to see one of the best surgeons in the area early the next week. When I saw the surgeon, he gave me more information about my cancer. He said it was what they called a triple negative cancer. He said that in a way that was the very best kind to have as it very rarely is a recurring cancer. He set up appointments for me to see an oncologist and a radiologist; he wanted a team together that could coordinate everything before we proceeded with surgery. Fortunately, I was able to have the tumor removed on August 3rd without having a mastectomy. The cancer had spread to the sentinel lymph node so he had to remove more to test. All of them came back clear. I spent one night in the hospital due to the late hour that surgery was completed. I was told I could go back to work the next week but a death in my surgeon’s family prevented me from returning to work and starting my treatments by a couple of weeks. I started my first round of chemo on September 6th. I was scheduled to get 4 treatments of the first round, followed by a shot the next day, every other week. Other than hair loss and extreme tiredness, I experienced no adverse symptoms. I was never nauseous, and could continue to eat anything I wanted. Everyone was amazed at how well I handled the treatments, but I knew it was all in God’s plan to be used as a testimony to others. The Friday before I was scheduled to start my second round of treatments at the end of October, I developed a hacking cough; something that was not unusual for me during the late fall. Because my immune system was compromised I developed a high fever that delayed my second round of treatments for two weeks. It was also recommended by my employer and my doctor that I take a leave of absence from work to keep the risk of infection down. Once my temperature went back down to normal I was able to proceed with my treatments. I finished my second round of chemo treatments, again without any negative side effects, in December, 2011 and returned to work in January, 2012. Because they wanted to give me time to recuperate some, my radiation treatments were not scheduled to start until the first of February. I had to have treatments five days a week for several weeks. I finished my treatments and was officially declared cancer free. For the first two years after this I went to see my oncologist for follow-up appointments every three months. After the two years, the appointments were scheduled every six months. After five years of being cancer-free, I now have an annual check-up with my oncologist and, of course, annual mammograms. My last appointment was last Tuesday and I’m happy to say I’m doing well and am still cancer-free. My experience with cancer is one of the reasons I love being a Posh Influencer. Our products being made with the most natural ingredients is very important to me. I have been doing my best to detox my life and I’m so grateful for companies like ours that provide quality products without harmful or toxic ingredients. I’m so glad I took the plunge and tried to products after hearing about the products from a friend. Thank you for letting me share my story.”

- Nancy McDonald

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“Last August I was going for a mammogram, and I had a lump so it had to be a diagnostic mammogram. Then biopsies. I had a 9 cm tumor in my right breast and it had spread to surrounding lymph nodes. It was called invasive ductile carcinoma. That is when thing went into overdrive since it was stage 3 and spreading. I was living in a new state and had no idea where to turn. I had a team of doctors, an oncologist, a surgeon, and a radionuclides oncologist. They decided to start chemo to shrink the tumor. I barely knew my new address when all of this started. I had a very strong chemo once every 3 weeks. I would sit there for 4 hours knowing they were pumping me full of poison. My family was very supportive. My sister from NY flew down every month when I had my chemo...she was an angel. By the end of January I was so sick that my oncologist decided that the positive effects from the chemo did not outweigh how sick I was. I had gained almost 40 lbs due to all the steroids that were in the chemo cocktail. My surgery was next....a lumpectomy—they found no signs of the tumor! Just some scar tissue. They removed several lymph nodes from under my arm. I continued to be uncomfortable after the surgery. All of the pathology reports came back clean! Then 6 weeks of radiation every day; not painful, just time consuming. I am still receiving antibody therapy but that will be done at the end of the month. I never thought it would happen to me...I had just had a breast exam in June, that is how fast my tumor grew. I would not wish chemo on my worst enemy. I am not a “rah-rah, I beat cancer" type of person. I want to forget it happened. But every 6 months I will be reminded with mammograms and appointments. The type of cancer is HER 2 positive, fairly new but lots of studies. I had angelic doctors. My family got me through.”

- Debbie Robinson

“9 1/2 years ago, I was doing my self exam and felt a lump, but didn’t think it was anything to worry about because there was no history of breast cancer in our family. The more I thought about I knew in my heart I should have it checked. I made my appointment for my mammogram and, sure enough, it was cancer. My doctor ordered an MRI on both and found cancer in the other breast also. Three weeks later I had surgery, and in April it will be 10 years cancer free. GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS DONE YEARLY!”

- Judi Templeton

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“I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000. It was stage zero. I had a lumpectomy and radiation. 17 years later it came back in the same breast. My surgeon thought it was stage 1. I had a double mastectomy. My surgeon also took out 8 lymph nodes and they were all cancerous. So stage 3. I had chemo and radiation. A year later, during a routine CT scan, a spot showed up on my lower spine. I had a biopsy and it was cancerous. So now I am stage 4. I have been taking Ibrance, Faslodex, and Xgeva for a year. So far, everything is stable. The worst side effect is fatigue. I am also taking an antidepressant.”

- Cynthia Lopez

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“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2017. I was shocked. No one in my family had ever had breast cancer. I was the first. I numbly met with doctors, not truly understanding what was happening. I went to appointment after appointment, listening but not really hearing what was being said. Then I became angry. Why me? Why did I get this horrible disease? I had recently lost 30 lbs. I was eating healthier and exercising. Why me and why now? The anger I felt was just what I needed. It sparked the real Tracy into action. I began my research. I read websites and forums, absorbing all the information I could about the disease, the treatments and the aftermath. I became an expert on the subject. There was very little I could not answer myself. After some encouragement, I began posting my story on Facebook. I didn't post medical information. I posted about me. How I was feeling, what I needed from friends; simple, pure emotions. I had FB friends comment but more often than not, they sent me private messages. They asked how to perform a monthly breast exam, what to look for, how to know something was wrong. You see I found my cancer myself, but only because it hurt. "Breast cancer doesn't hurt" is one of the biggest lies about the disease. Mine hurt and if it had not, I might not be writing this story. I always encourage women to get mammograms but I push harder for the monthly self exam. It's so very important to know your breasts and know when something is different with them. By posting my journey on FB, I was able to encourage friends to get their mammograms. I educated them on the fact there are so many different types of breast cancer, treatments are different, side effects are different. Just like pearls, no two treatments are the same and no one reacts the same to the drugs used. I have completed surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, but I will remain on medication for the next 10 years. The side effects I experience from the medication are horrible. There are four types of medication used for patients like me. I have tried all four and have stopped the medication completely due to side effects. There are no others for me to try. During my treatments, I was sick and I had no energy. I put myself on restriction of going out in public due to the issues with my immune system. I rarely ventured out except to go to my regular job. I am the only office worker at my job. I may have left work early for appointments but I only missed 6 full days of work during my treatments. This I am very proud of. Cancer changed me in many ways. I am even more grateful for each day I am alive. More grateful for the friends I still have, as you do realize who is a true friend when going through something like breast cancer. More grateful for family and friends who kept my mailbox full of gifts and cards to brighten my days. I am now even more grateful for my husband, Billy. We have always had a close bond but now it is even stronger. Without his care, kindness, understanding, patience, sense of humor, and love, my journey would have been so much harder. Regardless of how many friends and family you are surrounded by, ultimately, breast cancer is your journey alone. Cancer can do a lot of things to you, but you should never allow it to break your fighting spirit. I've included a collage of photos. I think of it as the faces of cancer. My first day of chemotherapy, my last chemotherapy treatment, when my hair came back completely gray and my current photo with short curly hair instead of long straight hair. Cancer changes you, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. Breast cancer is a life sentence. Yes, you can beat it, but you always have the thought in the back of your mind as to when it's going to come back. You try not to dwell on that thought, but it's still there. I could write so much more. How not hiding my bald head encouraged others who had their own journey to talk to me about what they went thru. How standing in line at a store one day, a complete stranger handed me cash because she felt she should. How strangers were kinder, smiled more often and held doors open when I did venture out in public. I will always be grateful for all the little things in my life because in the end, those are the best things.”

- Tracy Oldfather

“My mother Raejean is currently going through breast cancer treatments and when this promo was announced, I reached out to both her and her wife Helen. The response from my mother was that it was all going well, better than she expected. She is happy with the office that is administering her radiation treatments because she is in and out in 15 minutes, and her burns from it are not that bad. Then we moved on to talking about the play she is going to see tonight. Here is the response from her wife, Helen:

Breast cancer. It effects everyone—men and women—no matter their age, race, color. or lifestyle! I am currently living with a breast cancer patient. Every year she would get her mammogram and ultrasound, and every year she would pass. This year was different. She had the mammogram, had the ultrasound—twice—this year she failed both. This time she got a call that people fear: the spot that has been on their radar for at least 10 years has changed, not for the good. So we make the appointment, we go to the surgeon after many calls to get things moving, and finally we have a surgery date. Through all of this the patient jumps through hoops to get referrals and insurance approvals. And behind the scenes, as we sit on hold and wait for referrals, the patient slowly has a meltdown because there is a monster living inside her. Finally surgery happens and now the wait happens for chemo appointments, but little do we know, the surgery site gets an infection, so now she's back on antibiotics and chemo is postponed. Again, the patient does what she needs to but also the meltdown continues. So we get through chemo, the surgery site heals, and now radiation: 5 days a week for 8 weeks. Between the chemo and the radiation the patient is exhausted, mentally and physically. But the patient keeps a strong face and tells everyone she is fine, but really, not so much. She is tired and has no motivation to move. She has agreed to a temporary caregiver to help her do things like make breakfast and take a daily walk. The caregiver is with her 4 hours a day. This caregiver is two-fold. They help the patient and also help the spouse have some time away. The spouse didn’t realize she needed a ‘caregiver’ too. It has helped her mental health, and when the patient has spoken with family members there has been a noticeable change in her tone—for the better . So the journey continues. Raejean was blessed to have years of mammograms and ultrasounds to compare. The key is to be proactive and ask questions—I am still struggling to get through Helen's account without completely breaking down. I know my mother. She is strong, she is determined, she is in control. Cancer doesn't care about any of that. I am not sure what your plans are with these testimonials, but I am ready to help do what I can to share and promote this donation drive. I know Jackie Pepe has floated the idea of adding a ‘round up to donate’ feature at check out and I am 100% behind that. Or some other way for consultants and customers to add an additional donation to their order.”

- James Goodrich (The Pamper Guys)

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“Hi, my name is Deanna. I am a 12-year survivor of breast cancer. I discovered the lump during a shower. I wasn't doing a monthly exam, I was just washing up. I called right away to have an ultrasound done. Nope. My doctor had to examine me to determine if there was, in fact, a lump. And, of course, there was. I had the ultrasound to verify there was a lump as the doctor had determined. Yes, it was there. On to the cancer doctor. He told me, "I see this all the time and I can tell you that this is nothing." I kindly informed him to not tell me it's nothing until it's nothing. Next stop was a biopsy. Most painful experience ever! They are unable to numb the area because it causes snow on the machine and then they can't see where they are going. My biopsy came back as positive for cancer. So, on to the lumpectomy. They were able to get all of my cancer during the lumpectomy. My advice to all: advocate for yourself, always. If I had listened to the cancer doctor who told me it was nothing, I wouldn't be here today. Thanks for reading.”

- Deanna Singer

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“I was the woman who always went for the regular mammograms and always had to go back for a second or ultrasound due to "spots." So I wasn't worried when in November of 2017 my doctor kept telling me I really had to get this checked out further and I just kept putting it off because I was busy. Finally I went for the ultrasound and did a followup with the doctor. Now this was the other one in the practice, unfortunately my regular was out. The guy was a total jerk, yelling at me that I needed to see a surgeon ASAP and he was going to schedule me for a double biopsy immediately. This is Dec. 29, and I had to tell Sparky to hold the phone. This was going to be on my schedule, not for anyone else. As I went to the reception area, he was berating the receptionist regarding me. I had to tell him off, tell the receptionist I would find my own surgeon, and call her back. I found a wonderful surgeon, Tara Harden. She saw me, chatted with me, and the biopsy was scheduled for January 19. I go to the biopsy, and—yay!— friend's sister was the assistant to the radiologist that day. They do the biopsy, getting everything out that was suspicious on one breast, and taking a huge glob out of the other. On Jan. 29 I went to follow up with Dr. Harden and was told I had breast cancer in my right breast. HER2+ ER/PR+—the worst out there—but Stage 1. Wheels start spinning. Now I have to deal with this on top of everything else. We talk options. She says, "Do you have an oncologist?" Like everyone keeps one on their list of to-dos. So she gives me a name and makes an appointment. On Feb. 12 or 13 I go to the oncologist. The first thing I notice is the receptionist is behind a window—the place is old and the chairs in the waiting room are packed together. Ugh. I go back, and my blood is drawn. When I ask why I am told every visit gets a blood draw, they say they need to see where I am for a baseline. Fair enough. I notice the chemo chairs are all lined up in a huge room with not a bit of privacy. It was almost factory line like. I then meet the doctor. I immediately dislike the doctor. To me he was a condescending a*hole who was not happy that I was questioning his authority. He asked me if I was getting my information from Dr. Google, and I had to shut him down and tell him no, I was getting my information from Johns Hopkins, Dana Farber, and the New England Journal of Medicine, as well as other oncologist publications that could only be accessed by oncologists. (I have friends). I make the decision to schedule the surgery before chemo and we get dates for that and followup. I had my lumpectomy the day of the Parkland school shooting. While I was waiting to go back, my time was filled with watching the horrors unfold. It eclipsed all the pain I was feeling from the various radiology procedures required pre-surgery. I went in, and went I woke, all I remember is Dr. Harden saying "I got it all." That amazing surgeon was able to take out every piece of suspect tissue and then some. At the same time, the chemo port was put in. Yippee. Move forward to the consult with oncologist about chemo. The day of my appointment, I refuse to have blood taken because it is just a consult. I wish you all could have heard the nurse complain about the fact I refused to have my blood drawn. The oncologist comes in and "scolds" me for not having a blood draw and then proceeds to draw up a plan that I do not agree with. I ask to put off the start date because I had 3 Posh related parties/events coming up and I needed to fulfill my commitments. That didn't sit well either. Well, I left the place and called another oncology center. March 13 (around there) I walked into the Sacred Heart Oncology Center and met Dr. Amy Nance. She was great and agreed with the treatment plan I had in my head. Then I went with Judith, the patient advocate, and toured the center. Semi-private with 2 chair bays each with a window to look out onto the grounds. Peace. I cancelled my appointment with the other place and went forward. I had 12 weeks of chemo: taxol and herceptin. Herceptin is hard on the heart, but is a necessity for HER2 positive breast cancer patients. Once a week for 12 weeks I drove myself over there, had my treatment, and went home. My friend John always made sure he brought over a pizza that evening and played backgammon with me. The next day I went to work. In retrospect, I should have taken more time off. I also refused radiation. I went on herceptin only from July through February 2019. I continue to go for blood work every 3 months and mammos every 6. I am on an anticancer drug for the next 7–10 years. I had issues with the port, always hated the damn thing, and finally an infection in late February 2019 precipitated removing it. I can say I have less than a 5% chance of reoccurrence, according to the doctors. Diet and exercise play a big part. The HER2 is a nasty one, but we have been known to beat it down. I can tell you, I never thought it would happen to me. I have to reel myself in and take care. I had committed to all these events in the 2018 holiday season, and did them, but man, it wore me out. Posh Customer Support was freaking awesome working with me when I was trying to figure out what I should do to stay active. I told this to Eddie at the Day Away in Jacksonville in January. Honey Honey!, The Healer, Impish Eyes, Right on Cue, and every BFHYC available helped me immensely . Y'all, I was so excited when I grew enough hair back to use Beach Hair! Whoop! I'm not a big Posh Influencer. I joined because I love the product, and I actually love doing events. My 2019 season has every Saturday booked for an event from Sept. 21 through Dec. 2. Toss in parties and other events during the week, and I am loving it! This has been a looooonnnngggg story, and I think it is the first time I have put my experience on to "paper." I leave you with 3 pictures. The one with the black shirt is my receiving the "Ronda Davenport Spirit of Hope" award from our local United Way. This was 3 days after my surgery and before chemo. The second is in July 2018;, I have my dad's hairline from chemo (did not lose all my hair or my nails). The third is taken from a group shot of United Way Ambassadors in July 2019. And, because I am shallow and love to be pampered, I was able to get lowlights in my hair for the first time since 2017! I do realize there are many sisters out there having a worse time than me. Y'all, I was sitting in chemo next to a lady who was in for her third bout of ovarian cancer. I graduated high school in 1980. She was not even born yet. Thanks, Posh, for doing this, and being there for me. I am forever grateful.”

- Jackie Matichuk