Coach Heather’s Mom is One in a Million. She’s Also One in Eight.

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As we approach Mother’s Day, we have a special guest post from Coach Heather, sharing her own family’s breast cancer story. This year, her mom will be celebrating Mother’s Day for the first time as a breast cancer survivor, and Coach Heather is sharing their journey together to remind us all the ways breast cancer can affect any one of us. We all think our moms are one in a million, but when they also become 1 in 8, everything changes.

 

Truly, never did I think that the 1 in 8 would be my mom. There has been zero history of breast cancer in our family. But sure enough, on the afternoon of February 18, 2019, she received the call with me by her side. I didn’t even have to ask…because I already knew. I could tell by the expression on her face. She had breast cancer.

The call came five days after her annual mammogram. In those five days she had two mammograms, an ultrasound, and a biopsy. They weren’t messing around…bam, bam, bam. This was all taking place in the hospital where she spent 37 years of her career and she had her “people” all around her.

Even after the call, we were in shock. Wait, what? Breast cancer? She had had no symptoms, no lumps, nothing that would ever concern her or lead her to believe she was at risk. She immediately started looking to blame this on something that she had done. Maybe she drank too much wine, maybe she consumed too much caffeine. She needed an explanation.

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Now, after some of the dust has settled, she is far more educated and realized that regardless of whether there were symptoms or not, she WAS at risk merely because she was aging, and because she was a woman. Sometimes, there is no explanation or logic.

The day after she heard her diagnosis, she left for a scheduled vacation. While I had the opportunity for the news to sink in and the chance to be angry, sad, and feel the roller coaster of emotions, she had to remain calm and cool because she didn’t want to put a damper on the vacation for those she was with. At least until she came home.

One week later we had a 3-hour appointment at the Cancer Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Macomb. We were so nervous, knowing that once this train left the station, it was rolling and there was no going back to life “before cancer.”

So, like we do in most situations, we walked through those doors optimistic, joking, and ready to tackle whatever came next. We met a wonderful surgeon who really laid it all out there. My mom had invasive ductile carcinoma, Stage 1, with a tumor smaller than a pea. A lumpectomy was discussed and the treatment plan that the surgeon, oncologist, and radiation oncologist laid out was far better than we originally thought.  The surgeon said “We caught this early. You are not going to die from breast cancer!”

Cue the BIG sigh of relief! But Mom still had so much ahead of her.

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The next week we walked back into Henry Ford for what Mom kept calling “three procedures.” We arrived at 8:30am for her 12:30pm lumpectomy. Prior to the actual lumpectomy, she had wires inserted to act as a roadmap for the surgeon, took a quick trip to nuclear medicine where she had dye injected into her nipple to further direct the surgeon to the location of the tumor, and then finally went into surgery. It went as well as it could go, and we were on our way back home by 3pm.  Mom felt great by 5:00pm, ready to eat Chinese food, and only needed two Aleve per day for the next few days. She was very lucky, and we knew that.

Outside of the breast cancer diagnosis, things have gone as well as they can for someone dealing with this life changing news and journey. About a week after the lumpectomy, Mom’s biopsy results came back with clean margins and no trace in the lymph nodes. Great news! Oncology testing results showed that chemo would not be necessary. So, a month of radiation and then five years of medication would be coming next.

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My mom is all about positivity but still knows that her life will never be the same. The days of reading breast cancer books, really “hearing” commercials related to breast cancer, checking labels for soy, and frowning on the red wine she used to love, are the new normal now. She doesn’t want to do anything to contribute to the development of another estrogen-induced tumor.

To say she is and was scared is an understatement. But much good has come of this as well. She is far more concerned about taking care of herself in regards what she consumes, her exercise regimen, and health in general from this point forward. She is also determined to share her story in hopes that her friends will understand the risks, re-evaluate their daily behavior, and (most importantly!) get their annual mammogram. As we always hear, and as Mom has learned, early detection is key.

I am part of a group of 9 women who have been friends since high school and in recent years, as we rapidly approach 50, I often wondered who would be the 1 in 8 to get breast cancer. Knowing the statistic that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, I was prepared that surely it would be at least 1 of us. I just never thought it would be my mom. But breast cancer can affect any and all of us. Now she’s not just one in a million. She’s also 1 in 8, and she is never going to quit.

3-Day Coaches Salute Each Other on International Women’s Day

Coaches Jen, Tisho and Steph

Today is International Working Women’s Day, and we are so proud to have so many amazing women working for all of you on the 3-Day. Some of those women are your 3-Day coaches, who work as a team all year long to make sure you are supported and loved every step of the way, from the moment you register to the moment you finish those 60 miles – and beyond.

Now, they are also supporting and loving on each other! We asked some of our 3-Day coaches to share what they love about their fellow teammates, and their group of working women as a whole. Here’s what they had to say…

“Something I love about working with the other coaches is that no matter how many miles or time zones separate us, we are a team, and we support each other. To quote my buddy Coach Heather, ‘Teamwork makes the dream work!’”

  • Coach Carol

“They are all the most passionate, dedicated and determined group of people you could ever hope to work alongside.”

  • Coach Staci

Coaches Gayla and Liz

“I love my fellow coaches because they are all so passionate about the cause and we also really look out for each other. Each person on the team has something unique to offer and we all work together sharing ideas. Special shout out to my buddy Gayla in Dallas (above left) for supporting me these last few months as I have gotten back up to speed!”

  • Coach Aubrey

“I want to give special love to Coach Jen, who is super sweet, so calming and can always be counted on to put a positive spin on everything!

Every one of my co-coaches are always the most supportive, upbeat and helpful of people in every way.”

  • Coach Liz

“This is my first year working with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day and Coach Aubrey in Seattle has made it an amazing experience! She’s been so helpful every step of the way and has shown me what an impact the 3-Day can make in the community.”

  • Coach Alex

Coaches Kiki, Tisho and Steph

“I feel so lucky to be working alongside our Twin Cities Lead Coach, Stephanie (above right). Her motivation, support, and drive are always paired with a smile, and I just can’t get enough of her positive energy!”

  • Coach Marsha

“I love the never-ending energy and compassion of my bosses, co-workers and all the 3-Day participants. It’s a #DreamJob 😊”

  • Coach Gayla

Coaches Tisho and Heather

“I must give a shout out to my Local Lead Coach, Carol! We were 3-Day friends before we became working partners. Both of us are now new to our roles as coach. It feels as if we are holding hands and leveling up in the 3-Day world at the same time. She has been an amazing guide and I couldn’t be more grateful for her presence.

In general, what I love most about working with all the other 3-Day coaches is the fact that we share the same passion, we play on the same team, we work together and pour our hearts and souls into making the 3-Day the best event that it can be.”

  • Coach Christine

What do you love most about your 3-Day coaches? Do you have a special memory of when they helped you or supported you most? Tell us in the comments!

New Year’s Resolutions: Your 3-Day Coaches’ 2019 Goals

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Happy 2019! As we start this New Year, it’s the perfect time to set your goals and plans for 2019. Whether yours are personal or professional, for this month or more long-term, setting goals help you make the most of your year. If you haven’t yet, it’s also the perfect time to commit to 60-miles and join our 3-Day family!

In the meantime, take inspiration from your 3-Day coaches as you set your own 2019 resolutions…

Coach Gina

One of my goals for 2019 is to slow down, breathe more and keep practicing self-care. I want to make sure the moments don’t slip by, as the small moments (like the ones with my family!) can end up being the most important ones.

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Coach Kiki

But I try to create new habits/actions/behaviors throughout the year. This year, I’m hoping to incorporate yoga and meditation into my weekly health routine. I also plan to hydrate more often when on-event, as well as remember to reapply sunscreen (see above)!

Coach Staci

I’m going to start running again! And I have an epic trip to Alaska planned for 2019! We’ll do DeNali National Park and other day trips out of Anchorage followed by a 7-day cruise down the coast to Vancouver.

For the 3-Day, I want to make 2019 San Diego 3-Day even bigger and better than ever! I hope to help more walkers and crew experience the life-changing journey and leave their mark on the world!

Seattle 2015 walking with friends

Coach Gayla

Since I’m registered to walk the New England 3-Day in 2019, my resolution is to attend a different training walk every week. I challenge every Texas training walk leader to surprise me with creative areas because I’m willing to travel. Be on the lookout for the training walks I will post, too!

Coach Heather

2018 was a year of MAJOR life changes for me. In 2019, I am hoping to focus on “me,” as selfish as that can sound. Self-care is important, and in order for 2019.

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Coach Tisho

For 2019 my chosen word is “focus.” It’s going to be an exciting year with our New England event coming back and more awesome changes ahead, so I want to really be able to focus on the moment I’m in and not get too caught up in all the other moving parts of life.

Coach Stephanie

I’m hoping to get out and volunteer more!

Coach Jennifer

I want to help more people LOVE their experience on the 3-Day journey and raise as much money as we can in the fight to end breast cancer.

Personally, I’d like to learn to play my guitar like Sheryl Crow and grow more yummy things in my garden 🙂

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Coach Amy

For 2019, a quote that will inspire me to keep sprinkling my love is:

“Breathe love.

Be Love.

Give Love.

Do Love.”

How will you spread love in 2019? What else are you committing to for 2019? Tell us in the comments! Then, commit to joining us on this amazing 60-mile journey in 2019. We can’t wait to have you in our 3-Day family!