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One Fateful Day in February

I’ve been around now for a fair number of Februarys (never mind exactly how many), but two seem to stand out in my mind and it’s no surprise they are “cancer Februarys.” Of course cancer stomps around all year doing its damage, but some months seem to have a more permanent imprint etched into them, and one of those months for me is February. This post is about one of those fateful Februarys. I’ll share about the other one later.

One main reason for this permanent marker is because February is the month in which my mother discovered her lump, on my birthday no less. I posted last year about the uninvited guest who showed up at my birthday party and never left. Sometimes it still feels like an omen I missed.

On a recent post of mine, A “Typical” Cancer Diangosis, fellow blogger Jody, from Women With Cancer, made a comment that I haven’t been able to shake. She wisely and eloquently wrote the following:

“Cancer is “just” a word until your name or that of a loved one is attached to the diagnosis. Then it becomes deeply personal. It impacts your body, your thinking, your past and your future. Nothing is ever the same in many ways.”

This is a very true, simple and yet profound statement.

It’s not that we don’t empathize with others, no matter what we are referring to – be it illness, disability, economic disparity, hunger or cancer. We care. We try to understand. We may even advocate on behalf of whatever cause it may be, but until something affects us or someone we care about directly, we continue to be somewhat removed from the matter. We continue to be at least somewhat detached.

We continue to somehow think it could never happen to us.

Is this some sort of built-in self-protection mechanism we humans have? I don’t know.

I do know that on that fateful February day in 2004 when my mother discovered her lump, suddenly cancer was very real. Not that it wasn’t real before, but until that fateful day in February, it was still somewhat elusive. It was still somewhat vague.

Since that day, my life has been forever altered because…

When a loved one’s name is attached to the word cancer, it becomes deeply personal very quickly.

When a loved one’s name is attached to the word cancer, life drastically changes for both of you.

When your name is attached to the word cancer, life changes forever. Your old life is over. You can’t go back.

Nothing is ever the same in many ways.

Nothing is ever the same period.

What has happened to you that you once thought never would/could?

Is there a month for you permanently marked by something (doesn’t have to be cancer)?


Note:  It’s yet another fateful day in February. This morning I learned my friend Rachel, blogger at The Cancer Culture Chronicles, died last night from metastatic breast cancer. I am saddened beyond belief. Ironically, this post seems to fit, so I decided to go ahead and publish it because I am indeed losing a loved one. Rachel, you were part of my online family. Good-bye dear friend. RIP. I dedicate this post to you. #wewillnotforget






Sunday 28th of June 2015

Nancy I am very sorry in the loss of your friend Rachel. I feel the pain I know it all to well too being in your shoe, may she RIP. To win the fight against cancer and avoid the fateful months, here's a list to get you started on a cancer prevention plan: Normalize your vitamin D levels with safe amounts of sun exposure. This works primarily by optimizing your vitamin D level. Ideally, monitor your vitamin D levels throughout the year; Control your insulin levels by limiting your intake of processed foods and sugars/fructose as much as possible; Get appropriate amounts of animal-based omega-3 fats; Get appropriate exercise. One of the primary reasons exercise works is that it drives your insulin levels down. Controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risks; Eat according to your nutritional type. The potent anti-cancer effects of this principle are very much under appreciated. When we treat cancer patients in our clinic this is one of the most powerful anti-cancer strategies we have; Have a tool to permanently erase the neurological short-circuiting that can activate cancer genes. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions. It is likely that this factor may be more important than all the other physical ones listed here, so make sure this is addressed. My particular favorite tool for this purpose, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique. Only 25 percent of people eat enough vegetables, so by all means eat as many vegetables as you are comfortable with. Ideally, they should be fresh and organic. Cruciferous vegetables in particular have been identified as having potent anti-cancer properties. Remember that carb nutritional types may need up to 300 percent more vegetables than protein nutritional types; Maintain an ideal body weight; Get enough high-quality sleep; Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners and air pollution; Reduce your use of cell phones and other wireless technologies, and implement as many safety strategies as possible if/when you cannot avoid their use; Boil, poach or steam your foods, rather than frying or charbroiling them.

Happy February! | Journeys are my Diary

Monday 5th of January 2015

[…] Source […]


Wednesday 6th of February 2013

I had just started following various blogs that have been mentioned and all the sudden Rachel and Susan passed away. It was the very first time for real that I understood for sure I will actually die from met breast cancer. Seeing those beautiful young mothers, sisters, daughters and friends finally made it real for me. I have learned so much from you all and even though every month has a "marker" you all have helped with that mark. RIP Rachel and Susan.


Thursday 7th of February 2013

Christine, I'm sorry about your mets diagnosis. Losing these two amazing women on the very same day was stunning for all of us. Thank you for saying the various blogs have been helpful. That means a lot. My best to you.

Jan Baird Hasak

Monday 13th of February 2012

You are so right, Nancy, that we can't go back. Once cancer has intruded into our lives (whether our own or a loved one's), it's impossible.

What happened to me that I thought impossible was my husband's long-standing affair with someone and pathological lying about it. It took me a year to get out of denial and face the facts and leave him. It was way worse than the cancer, but obviously related to the cancer.

My “permanently marked” bittersweet month is May when I met Marie in person in Ireland while my husband was fooling around at home. May will never again be known as Mother's Day month for me.

Thanks for your beautiful tribute, sad and poignant.



Tuesday 14th of February 2012

Jan, I'm so sorry you had to experience such heartache. It was a betrayal of the worst kind. Thank you for sharing something so deeply personal.

Lori Hope

Friday 10th of February 2012

Hi, Sweetie- No time to craft a thoughtful comment. Just want you to know I'm here and listening and my heart is open wide to you. I'm sending love and prayers and thanks for your beautiful writing and self! Lor


Sunday 12th of February 2012

Lori, You're very kind. Thanks for being there and for "listening."

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