Hey, Arkie Mama here. I stumbled across Heather’s blog awhile back and was moved, inspired and just in awe of what she’s been doing. I asked her if she would mind writing a guest post for us about her battle with breast cancer — as well as the incredible idea she came up with for other survivors — and this is what she sent. I read it and cried. This is one amazing woman. Please, go visit her at Fighting Fancy.
My name is Heather Mason Owens and I am a breast cancer Survivor.
On May 9, 2012 my entire world changed forever. The lump that I had found in my breast was confirmed to be cancer. Estrogen positive– invasive ductal carcinoma.
I will NEVER forget the day I was told I had breast cancer. What I was wearing, where I was standing, what the weather was like. Nothing could prepare me for that phone call.
The type of cancer I have is very aggressive and would need chemotherapy, double mastectomy and a five year oral chemo.
The doctor paused and said “do you have any questions for me?” I was frozen. All I could think to say was “Am I going to lose my hair?”
It was like everything was happening in slow motion, like a very bad dream. She said, “We will be putting you on a drug called Adriamycin a.k.a. the Red Devil. You will definitely be losing all of your hair.”
I stood speechless and in total shock. And in all honesty, all I could think about was my hair and how much I loved my long brown curls!
And then came the next hurdle… the fertility doctor. I am married to my high school sweet heart and we have been waiting to have children. So to hear the chemo may kill my ovaries was a swift hit in the stomach.
I never imagined NOT being able to have a child. I went to see the fertility doctor about freezing my eggs. After spending 5 hours at the doctor my oncologist called to tell me I was a not a candidate for saving my eggs because the fertility drugs they would need to give me contained high doses of estrogen. Being that I have estrogen positive cancer… this would feed the cancer. Ultimately putting a time frame on my life.
This news was just as devastating as learning I have cancer. Instead of fertility drugs I was given a shot to put me into early menopause. I get this shot every three months and will continue to get it throughout the five years I am on oral chemo. I am starting to get used to the hot flashes. I am telling you, women going through menopause don’t get enough credit! Hot flashes are unreal.
In the midst of chemo I found my purpose. I created a nonprofit for women under 40 going through chemo called Fighting Fancy.
We provide chemo bags full of helpful items to help young women stay strong and fight fancy.
The bags are filled with items that are geared towards helping chemo patients get through treatment, feel beautiful and have hope for the future. Items include a “Fighting Fancy” top, necklace, binder to keep paperwork in, various coupons including one for a free wig, a head wrap, Biotene, Biofreeze, Nioxin Shampoo, Loreal lip gloss, various Burts Bees Wax products, a make up bag and items from Laura Mercier, OPI nail polish, lemon drops, Queasy Pops, hair ties and notes from local students.
Most of these women are mothers. They not only have to take care of themselves, but explain to their kids why mommy sleeps a lot and where her hair has gone. These women are fighters and are giving a new face to cancer.
The coloring sheet in the bag gives parents and teachers a way to tell kids about cancer and create awareness for the next generation of fighters. If you are interested in a coloring sheet please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a copy.
Or if you know anyone who is recently diagnosed and needs a bag please email me and I will be happy to send them one. To purchase a fighting fancy tank, necklace or bracelet call Scarlet Boutique at 501-223-8585. To learn more about Fighting Fancy and ways you can help visit FightingFancy.com
Throughout the past six months I have adjusted to my bald head and I have enjoyed not using the straightener every day. I can honestly say this experience has made me a better person. I appreciate so much more in life. The one regret I have is waiting to have children. I know there are other ways of having children. And I will explore my options. I plan on being a great mom one day!
See what I mean? So inspiring! I truly believe that Heather will not only have children someday, but that she will be a wonderful mom.
And here is Heather on the cover of Soiree.
Again, if you or someone you know is battling breast cancer, please feel free to contact Heather!