The Pink Moon Lovelies: Empowering Stories of Survival – A Review & Giveaway!

When Angelina Joilie’s story broke last week, I knew I had to get going on this post. Her story was the perfect lead in. Some call Angelina a hero; I’m not sure I’d say that, but I certainly do applaud her decision to go public about her prophylactic bilateral mastectomy.

Enough about her, though. I’d like to tell you about a group of women of the non-celebrity type who definitely are heroes to me.

They are the ladies behind the new book, The Pink Moon Lovelies:  Empowering Stories of Survival.

As I wrote about in my Voices of Hope DVD project post, I’ve encountered some incredible women since my cancer diagnosis who are accomplishing amazing things. Another one of these women is my friend Nicki Boscia Durlester, author of Beyond the Pink Moon. In her book, Nicki shares about the staggering number of cancer diagnoses in her family and about the impact that reality has had on her life. Nicki is a breast cancer survivor. She is also BRCA2 positive.

After publishing her book, Nicki started a Facebook group to provide a safe place for others with hereditary risk to discuss all things regarding hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. That’s a lot of stuff to discuss!

The group soon grew in numbers (I’m one of them!) and evolved into something more than even Nicki had ever expected. Fears, hopes, questions, answers, anxieties, dreams, struggles, losses and triumphs were shared by the group’s members. But more importantly, women grew to care about one another and friendships formed.

Eventually, Nicki got the idea to gather together some of the stories the Lovelies (that’s what they call themselves) shared within this group. She compiled the stories together in a book, The Pink Moon Lovelies:  Empowering Stories of Survival. (Like usual, I was late to the party and missed out).

This book is a collection of fifty of those stories and every story is as unique as the woman who shares it.

In part one survivor stories are shared by women who’ve survived breast cancer or ovarian cancer. In part two stories are shared by previvors – women like Angelina Jolie, women who’ve made difficult decisions to undergo prophylactic preventive procedures before cancer strikes, or the equally huge decision to opt for diligent surveillance.

All of the stories are powerful and inspirational. They are also very much grounded in reality – the reality of living with hereditary cancer risk and the fact that there are not always happy endings.

A cancer diagnosis can feel isolating. Learning you are BRCA positive, or living with the threat of hereditary risk even if you test negative, can be isolating as well.

I often recall the words my oncologist said to me the day I found out I am BRCA2 positive, “You know, you really are quite rare.”

Under different circumstances, such words might have been a compliment.

This is exactly why reading these compelling stories about survivors and previvors all compiled together in one book was tremendously moving for me. Though not all the women who shared their stories in the book ended up testing positive for a BRCA mutation, all the women are like me; they understand what it’s like to live knowing cancer risk lurks in your family’s DNA.

But even if this is not the case for your family, these women are like you too.

They are mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, wives and friends. They are from different corners of the world. They are women of varying ages, ethnicities, shapes and sizes, occupations and interests. Some have had cancer themselves and some have not.

One of the most stunning realizations for me when reading this book was reading over and over again words written by some of the previvors telling about their earliest memories, which so many times means remembering cancer.

Helen Smith, a BRCA1 previvor from Ohio writes:

“For as long as I can remember, cancer has been a part of my life… I can remember sitting on a tricycle outside watching the medics take my grandmother away on a gurney. My next memory of her was in the hospital. They allowed me to see her… It was the last time I would see her alive.”

And Edel Taylor, a BRCA1 previvor from Australia, writes:

“My first memory was my second birthday and being minded by my Nan and Pop as my Mum was in hospital recovering from surgery for breast cancer.”

Rachel Harrison, a BRCA1 previvor from Minnesota, writes these moving words:

“Memories of being a little girl usually include dressing up in your mommy’s clothes, bracelets, necklaces, and high heels. For me there was one more memory, dressing up in mommy’s fake breast… She was twenty-nine years old.”

Yes, some of the stories include incredibly heartbreaking accounts of cancer-stained family histories, but this is the stark reality for many who live with hereditary cancer.

These women do not share to garner sympathy; no, not these women. They share with one goal in mind – to save lives.

I am inspired by the women whose stories are highlighted in the Pink Moon Lovelies:  Empowering Stories of Survival. They might not be rich and they certainly aren’t famous, not yet anyway, but they are courageous, caring and compassionate ‘Lovelies’ for sure.

I think they just might be heroes too.

Thank you to all the ‘Lovelies’ who shared their stories in this book and thank you to those who share more quietly behind the scenes every day as well.

Important note! 100% of the proceeds earned from sales of this book will go to breast and ovarian cancer RESEARCH!

To enter this giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of The Pink Moon Lovelies:  Empowering Stories of Survival, simply leave a comment below by 5 pm CT Sunday, May 26, 2013. The winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

Sign up to win a copy for yourself, a loved one, a friend, a medical professional or anyone who cares about women’s health. This book will also make a great addition to any cancer center’s library.

So what are you waiting for?

Leave a comment and you’re in!


Image used with permission. Click on image for more information about how to buy.

Also, be sure to visit the Pink Moon Lovelies: Empowering Stories of Survival’s Facebook page and while you’re there, be sure to like it!

39 thoughts to “The Pink Moon Lovelies: Empowering Stories of Survival – A Review & Giveaway!”

  1. Thank you Nancy for all you have done sharing your experience and your commitment to make people aware of BRCA.

  2. Survivor stories are very comforting to me while I go through treatment for breast cancer.

  3. I am still reading this amazing book and as a result, as a cancer survivor myself, have also joined the ‘lovelies’ on Facebook…. Their support is as extraordinary as their stories. They should be heard and listened too.

    1. Julie, It’s terrific to hear you already have your hands on this amazing collection. Maybe you’ll win another copy to give away. It’s also great to hear you are now a member of the “Lovelies.” It is a wonderfully supportive group. Thank you for commenting.

  4. Thank you dear Nancy! This means the world to me! You have my deepest respect and gratitude!

  5. I found Nicki’s facebook page because of you…thank you for promoting it as there is a wealth of information being shared, as well as some pretty wonderful women too!

  6. Thanks for this opportunity Nancy. We all have our own stories and it helps to listen to or read the stories of others.

  7. Thanks Nancy , I just recently found you and enjoy your stories. I am a survivor and a previvor, I had cancer in one breast , but chose a bilateral mastectomy.

  8. Having just recently been invited to join the site, your piece is another validation of Nikki’s hard work and vision to create a safe place for survivors and previvors to share information and experiences. Thank you

    1. Debra, I could not agree more. Nicki has done and continues to do amazing work. Glad to meet another “Lovely”! Thanks for entering my giveaway.

  9. I very often read your posts Nancy. They are down to earth, real and although the topics are sometimes in depth, the language is easily understood.
    I am living with stage iv bc and have tested positive for a BRCA 2 gene mutation. However, interestingly enough, there is doubt as to whether or not the mutation has any relation to the bc that I developed. So there is many a twist to the BRCA testing and results.
    I would be very pleased to be entered into the draw for “The Pink Moon Lovelies” It sounds like a most intriguing book with many a story that we can all relate to.
    Thank you for everything you bring to us in your blog.

    1. Barb, I really appreciate your kind comments about my blog. Thank you so much. There are a lot of twists and turns to all this BRCA stuff aren’t there? Nothing is ever simple I guess. I’m sure you would find this book to be intriguing. I found it to be incredibly moving to read so many stories compiled together. Thanks for entering my drawing. Good luck!

  10. Nancy, I, too am part of Beyond the Pink Moon group. I can’t say I’m a ‘lovely’ because, well, I haven’t done anything to deserve it yet. I was deeply affected by Jolie’s news. I was happy that previvors were finally getting some attention, but then very upset by some of the feedback I saw as a result. All the more reason for me to tell my story.
    I am a 10 year Stage 0 breast cancer survivor who was the 3rd generation to have breast cancer. I tested negative for BRCA 1&2, but I chose bi-lateral mastectomy anyway, and can relate to the previvors. Thanks for helping me along. <3

    1. Laurie, You’re so welcome. I know what you mean about the negative comments. Everyone has the right to make the decisions that feel best for them. Of course, it’s imperative to make these decisions based on sound medical information and advice. I’m glad you feel comfortable with choices you’ve made. Thanks for sharing and entering my giveaway.

  11. Nancy, I’m in!!

    The book sounds fabulous. The subject matter is of high importance, and I’m so glad you got the word out on this book. It’s wonderful that all the proceeds of the book will go to research. YAY!

    1. Beth, It is an incredible book. Seeing and reading so many stories compiled together really moved me. Thank you for participating. You’re in!

  12. Oooh, count me in! You are such an amazing resource, Nancy — I am so glad to know about this group. Even tho my mother had BC before me, I tested BRCA negative. But as one doctor put it, we know today about BRCA 1&2…but there could be BRCA 3, 4, 5…you get the idea.

    Scary…but the more you know, the better.

    1. Kayleigh, I’m glad you tested negative and yes, your doctor made a good point. I do get the idea! Thanks for entering my giveaway and for your very supportive comment. It means so much.

  13. Hi and thank you for your thoughts. As a genetic counsellor in Iceland, I see most of the people coming for BRCA testing. I am interested in knowing as much as possible, to be able to give back to counselees. We are a very small country and I do not know if there are any groups yet like yours but I think they are useul.
    One of the things I would like to do is to collect stories. Stories are a powerful way of connecting people and also to inform.
    For a very long time I also have been thinking about all the Icelanders that have moved abroad and I am sure that among them are BRCA carriers for the founder mutations in Iceland.

    1. Vigdis, It’s wonderful that you want to know as much as possible – that’s what’s so great about this book. The fifty women who share their personal stories in the book put real faces to BRCA stats. Stories are powerful aren’t they and they also contain the mysteries, as well as some of the answers to the origins of brca risk carriers. Delving into this further would be fascinating indeed. And just so you know, this group is an online Facebook group, so you would be welcome any time no matter where you live! Thanks so much for commenting.

  14. Everyone has a story. When it comes to breast cancer, sharing these stories is so important and helps all of us discover things about ourselves and others as anyone touched by this terrible disease knows. I didn’t want to be in “breast cancer land”, as no one does, but it’s amazing how many special friends I have made as a result of this disease.

    1. Edel, Thank you for sharing your story in the book. As I’ve mentioned, I was very moved when I read all the stories. So much heartache and at the same time, so much compassion, courage, strength and determination too. Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you liked my review, Edel. That means a lot.

    1. Jan, Sorry to say, the drawing is over, but yes it is a compelling read. Thanks for stopping by, Jan. I’ve been thinking about you.

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