My Pink Planner - Survivor News My Pink Planner is a free online scheduler for breast cancer survivors and those who want to help them. en-us Wed, 12 Oct 2016 19:14:50 -0700 Value of Mammograms to Detect Breast Cancer Wed, 12 Oct 2016 19:14:50 -0700 Breast Cancer Ribbon

With Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes a new study questioning the value of mammograms for early detection of breast cancer. A recent study performed in part by the National Cancer Institute and Dartmouth Medical School, found that mammograms indeed help detect early onset tumors but not "deadly" cancers.

Isn't that the point -- to detect any/early cancers? What newly diagnosed patient wants to determine whether their "early" cancer is deadly or not?

I know many women and men who discovered their cancer through mammograms, and I can't imagine any one of them saying their cancer is small so it must not be deadly.

I can agree that possibly some cancers are "overdiagnosed," but who is that one person to say they might be overdiagnosed therefore not seek possibly life-saving treatment?

While I respect the research, I would like to congratulate the researchers who have furthered the science that has helped me survive. However, it seems these studies disproving or deterring women from having mammograms rear their heads every few years now and for what purpose?

My Pink Planner Life Lesson Fri, 30 Nov 2012 11:50:38 -0700 If you have your health, you have it all. We have all heard the saying, but sitting in the waiting room of The KU Cancer Center waiting for my annual screening, sometimes we need to be reminded how fortunate we are.

After going through a stressful year, I decided life is far too precious to allow a situation to control my life and health. Stress is like poison. It invades every facet of your life. It hurts emotionally and physically. But not if you shut it down first.

As I enter the holidays, I will take better care of myself. I will cherish the time I have with loved ones, and live a less stressful life.

Being a survivor, I know how lucky I am to be healthy, and need to remain healthy and happy for myself and my family!

A Komen Pink Promise Thu, 05 Apr 2012 10:18:51 -0700 Komen Kansas City logoSusan G. Komen for the Cure Greater Kansas City is holding their annual BRUNCH to celebrate breast cancer survivors Saturday, May 5, 2012, at 10:30 a.m., at the Overland Park Convention Center.

My favorite part of the day is the plethora of boutiques featuring the latest pink purses, jewelry and t-shirts. But there will also be a silent auction, prize drawings with 20% of the proceeds Komen Kansas City.

The cost is $35 per person. Get your tickets today by visiting the Komen websiteor calling (816) 842-0410.

See you there!

Mesothelioma Resource for Patients Fri, 23 Dec 2011 12:15:46 -0700 For any cancer survivor, we all share the difficult journey of treatment and survival. Whether you are looking for information about breast, ovarian, prostate, lung cancer or mesothelioma, I want to provide you with links to websites that provide doorways to knowledge.

I recently was contacted by someone attheMesothelioma Centerwho asked if I would share a link with you. After reviewing the site, I found it helpful in finding doctors in your area while learning about more about this rare form of cancer. If you are looking for more information about Mesothelioma, visit Remember, we're all survivors.

Guiliana Rancic Takes Control with a Double Mastectomy Thu, 15 Dec 2011 07:19:19 -0700 Bill and Guiliana RancicCelebrity news anchor Guiliana Rancic is reportedly recovering after undergoing a double mastectomy earlier this week. I have to give her kudos for taking control of her treatment and cutting her chance of recurrence dramatically.

I understand the need to take the advantage over breast cancer. Seven years ago last week, I, too, opted to undergo a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. When I woke up after surgery, I mentally knew I was on my way to recovery which is why I decided to have my breasts reconstructed at the same time I had the mastectomies. I didn't have to wake up seeing the deep cavity on my chest where my breasts had once been.

At the time, doctors considered my decision radical, but having a young child with special needs made the decision to be as aggressive as possible. I have never regretted my decision for a second.

I wish only the swiftest of recoveries for Guiliana, and she will remain in my thoughts.

Looking back at breast cancer Wed, 26 Oct 2011 17:32:08 -0700 It was the worst phone call imaginable, "The tumor was...malignant." And, poof! My life changed forever. I had breast cancer. I was 1 in 8 women diagnosed with this disease.

That phone call was 7 years ago this week, and my life has changed so much since then. Because of cancer I have new friends I never would have met. I have strength I never thought I had. I have found a way to help women and men who need help organizing their lives during treatment.

I'm not saying I loved having cancer or that I enjoyed losing my hair or haven't lost my mind many times with 7 years of power surge-like hot flashes.

I know my life has been enriched by the bravery in the eyes of men and women wearing stocking caps to cover their bald heads as I pass them in the grocery store. I am renewed every time I speak to a newly diagnosed survivor. I thank you for allowing me to talk about a time that HAS defined me -- I'm a fighter, survivor, living a better life than ever! (Thanks to Dr. John Quinn, Dr. Carol Fabian, Dr. Lon McCroskey, John Kitchin and Johnnie.)

Fighting cancer by creating a healthier you Wed, 19 Oct 2011 19:22:43 -0700 Cancer survivors, learn how to live healthier lives!

On Thursday, October 21, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, athe Cancer Treatment Centers of America.(R) invite you to learn how to fight cancer and live healthier!

The event is called "Creating a Healthier You" and will provide practical information about cancer fighting foods, cancer treatment choices featuring the latest technologies, and cancer-prevention lifestyle options. Guests are invited to a complimentary dinner whilelistening totwo cancer expert presentations and the opportunity to meet a variety of cancer support organizations throughout Kansas City.
Please RSVP for this event by calling 800-295-9333
or e-mail

Guiliana Rancic diagnosed with breast cancer Tue, 18 Oct 2011 14:00:34 -0700 Guiliana Rancic, courtesy MSNBC Entertainment Television host Guiliana Rancic has breast cancer. The news anchor revealed her condition on national morning television yesterday.Her condition was discovered while preparing for fertility treatment. My Pink Planner's survivors are behind her, and thinking and praying for her restored health.

A world of cancer awareness Thu, 06 Oct 2011 18:10:39 -0700 Steve Jobs, Courtesy: Apple.comSteve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple, died after a struggle with pancreatic cancer. Whether it's breast, prostateor ovarian cancer, every time cancer claims a victim I can't help but think of theindiscriminancy of its cruel pattern. Yet, Jobs was not reluctant to publicly personify a brilliant, super-wealthy survivor displaying the courage to be seen as the "celebrity cancer patient" of the moment. Like all survivors inthe battlefor their lives, Jobs tried to live as normal a life as possible. But his example of the human spirit conquering cancer if only for a brief time is what we should remember.Hislasting legacy willbe toraise awarenessof this lethal opponent and theneed for a cure forall types of cancer.

Make strides to end cancer with My Pink Planner Sun, 18 Sep 2011 20:48:29 -0700 My Pink Planner wants YOU to join the team to fight breast cancer! Join me for the American Cancer Society's "Making Strides to End Cancer" 5K walk on October 29, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. at the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. It's a great event to help raise funds to END breast cancer! I know these are tough economic times, I am asking for a donation -- $20 -- for the chance to walk together and to celebrate another year of being cancer survivors. 100% of the donations go straight to the American Cancer Society.

If you want to walk with the official My Pink Planner team, email me at today for more information! If you want more information itself about the walk, visit

Breast cancer fashion "In Living Pink" Wed, 07 Sep 2011 19:58:41 -0700 In Living Pink LogoKansas City breast cancer survivors and supporters celebrate the kickoff of Breast Cancer Awareness Month by working the hot pink catwalkfor their annual "In Living Pink" fundraising event. JoinMy Pink Planneron the runwayon Saturday, September 17th at 7:00 p.m. at the Overland Park Sheraton. I've been practicing my strut and "Smeyes" orsmiling with my eyes, and can't wait to joinQuinn PlasticSurgery at their table for therest of the evening.

Come cheer on Kim George, survivor honoree! To buy a ticket or learn more about the Young Survivors Coalition of Kansas City at Rolling Out the Pink Carpet.

National Cancer Survivor's Day Rally June 5, 2011 Tue, 31 May 2011 19:41:37 -0700 Ask any cancer survivor and they'll tell you every day is Cancer Survivors Day. Talk to any Missourian and they'll tell you the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Park is THE place to be on National Cancer Survivors Day. On Sunday, June 5th, the Bloch Cancer Hotline will host the 26th annual celebration over cancer at 48th and Roanoke in Kansas City, Missouri. Along with some great live music and tons ofrad survivors, the former University of Missouri basketball coach and 22-year colon cancer survivor and founder of Coaches vs. Cancer will be recognized with the Richard A Bloch Cancer Survivorship Award. Join me and stop by the My Pink Planner booth!

Breast Cancer: Bra Art for the Cause Tue, 19 Apr 2011 18:42:23 -0700 Breast cancer survivors show their bras for the cause! On May 13, 2011, 70 bras designed by celebrities,survivors and artists willbe auctioned to raise funds for Missy's Mirror, a cancer survivor specialty boutique at the University of Kansas Cancer Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The event will take place at Studio Dan Meiners in the Crossroads Arts District. Normally, I would tell you about the event to encourage you to attend, but My Pink Planner designed a bra I think is fitting for the sass and courage I gained from my cancer experience. I would show you a picture of the bra, but you will have to come to the event to see it. (I want to keep it for myself. It's so cool!) The only bad news is that I have to model a bra. = I

For more information about the event, visit

P.S. I will post a photo of the bra I designed and decorated for you to see.

SAVE THE DATE: Bloch Cancer Survivor Rally June 5, 2011 Tue, 15 Mar 2011 19:04:13 -0700 R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation

Celebrate National Cancer Survivor Day by joining the Bloch Cancer Hotline for their 26th annual Cancer Survivor Rally in Kansas City, Missouri.

This year, legendary Missouri Tigers' basketball coach Norm Stewart will receive the Richard A. Bloch Cancer Survivorship Award.

Add the date to your smart phone calendar and come out to the Survivor Cancer Park at 48th and Roanoke on June 5, 2011.

For more information, visit

Breast cancer survivor tells My Pink Planner story Sun, 13 Feb 2011 20:22:34 -0700

The following story appeared in a great cancer resource gude -- Patient Resource Guide. It is the go-to guide for all types of information.

Dolores Kitchin is one of those unique individuals who persevered through a personal crisis and used it to create something that has helped thousands of people. On October 23, 2004, Dolores was diagnosed with stage I (HER2-negative, hormone-positive) breast cancer. She knew she couldn’t fight her cancer alone and still manage her work, her home, and coordinate the care of her then three-year-old, special-needs son with her husband, John.

Faced with this daunting new situation, she created This free website features an interactive calendar where patients can post daily life needs that they cannot accomplish alone. Friends and family members can sign up to offer assistance on the password-protected site. It also provides survivors with the opportunity to blog updates on their condition.

In addition to overseeing the website, Dolores is the Director of Public Relations at Children International. She has been a television reporter, producer and model. She and John live with their son in Kansas City, Mo., and have been married for 11 years.

Life doesn’t stop when you have cancer.

When I was diagnosed, I knew I was going to need help in order to get well faster. Like many women, I don’t like asking for help, but I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed a system to organize the overwhelming details of people wanting to help my family and me — without all the exhausting phone calls.

I really wanted a way that we could all share a calendar, and it turned out that the Internet was the answer. A friend helped me create the website, and it made it so much easier for my family members, friends and some very kind people whom I hardly knew, to know what they could do for us. They began bringing us dinners and one person even scrubbed our bathroom floor. It was amazing to see their willingness to help.

I was very lucky to have found my cancer early. One day I noticed a lump when my hand brushed against it on the higher side of my right breast tissue, closer to my sternum. I wondered if I was imagining it — I was still young and cancer didn’t run in my family.

I called my doctor and after waiting and watching for a couple of weeks, it was still there. He sent me for a mammogram and an ultrasound, where the radiologist found the lump and advised me to get it checked out further. I then had a surgeon perform a biopsy, and he was fairly confident that it was cancer. I needed to see an oncologist.

This was really frightening. We had been through three difficult years with our son’s health and I knew that I had to do everything I could to fight this. I didn’t want anyone to raise my son except for my husband and me!

I visited three oncologists, but I knew immediately which one would become my doctor. She was very direct, intellectual and what I call, conservatively aggressive. She told me that my cancer was fast growing and aggressive, but that it was common. She told me, “We are going to find a cure for you.” That’s what I needed to hear, but I also wanted the truth — so I could face it.

Then came the hardest news for me — she advised me to shut down my ovaries as part of treatment. We were trying to get pregnant at the time, and being from a large family, I wanted more children. I know it seems odd that I was weighing treating cancer with having a baby, but this was my internal tug of war.

I chose to follow her advice, but I cried in the treatment room when I called my brother, a plastic surgeon, to ask his guidance. The emotions came tumbling out and I was angry. I didn’t smoke or drink. I was a runner. Why did this have to happen?

I returned to my oncologist’s office two weeks later and discovered that the tumor was dying. When her nurse told me, we were so excited that our faces hurt from smiling.

From there, I elected to have a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. Thankfully, we don’t need our breasts to live, and I knew I didn’t want them if there was a chance the cancer would recur. I chose to have reconstruction because I felt that just coming out of surgery with the process started would put me on the way to healing. Through everything, John was so supportive – always right beside me.

After surgery, my oncologist recommended four treatments of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation. The tumor was less than .5 centimeter from my chest wall and she suggested radiation based on the close proximity to the muscle despite the bilateral mastectomies — just to “clean up” any stray cancer cells. I had begun taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex) on my first visit to the oncologist and continued it for three years. Next, I began taking letrozole (Femara), which continued for two more years. I celebrated my five-year cancer free anniversary in October 2009 — with friends and a glass of champagne.

As I went through my cancer treatment journey, I saw that people have such big hearts and really want to help. Cancer is horrible and I wish we didn’t have it, but by letting people help you, you get to see God changing the lives of the people around us.

My Pink Planner: Planner and volunteer registration Thu, 10 Feb 2011 20:34:01 -0700 My Pink Planner screen shot

My Pink Planner is listening! I've heard eager volunteers tell me that they registered before they received their "Invite" from their survivor, so they were registered as a planner and a volunteer. That's okay! As we work on improving registration, login to your account. Your screen should look like the screen shot above. Then click on the link that is circled above. The link reads, "You are also registered as a volunteer, click here to switch to that account."

If you still have questions or concerns, please contact me at

World Cancer Day: A victory for all survivors Fri, 04 Feb 2011 20:39:39 -0700 Cancer survivors I know regard observances like World Cancer Day with quiet thoughtfulness. I remember my own cancer treatment experience in a montage of high and low points. I remember the day I sat in my car in front of my house after I had my mammogram and waited with the engine running and sleeting rain drops sliding slowly down my windshield. I was on the phone with my brother who is a doctor telling him, "I want you to know that I'm having a double mastectomy. I don't care if they tell me I only need a lumpectomy." I hadn't been diagnosed at that point.

The other mental picture is one of walking around the house the day after one of the chemo treatments. I was alone and thinking how lonely I was. I didn't realize that it was the heavy doses of drugs making me so depressed.

Despite my personal thoughts, this is a day to remember those who went before us and look forward to the future when cancer will indeed be cured.

Christina Applegate delivers a baby girl Wed, 02 Feb 2011 08:49:13 -0700 Christina Applegate and her fiance

Christina Applegate, a breast cancer survivor, and her fiance welcome baby girl Sadie to their family! This is so rad because many times young breast cancer survivors become menopausal after lengthy chemotherapy.

Being a survivor who is also interested in having another baby, I am so stoked for her, and for other survivors opening new chapters in their lives!

Way to go, Christina!

Bloch Cancer Hotline needs breast cancer survivor volunteers Mon, 10 Jan 2011 20:23:05 -0700 The Bloch Cancer Hotline is a national hotline that makes a real one-to-one connection between newly diagnosed patients and cancer survivors who lend an eartonewbie survivors. The hotline connected me with a breast cancer survivor who had the same tumor type, stage, and took the same chemotherapy right after I was diagnosed.

I have talked about the hotline before -- it's awesome. As the hotline wraps-up its30th anniversary year,it continues to have more than 500 volunteers (all cancer types and stages) and recruit 30-50 survivors every year from all over the country. The hotline needs morebreast cancer survivors who have been diagnosed in the last 5 years - all stages, all subtypes -
who can share their experiences with the latest advances in diagnostics and
treatment. This includes those who know whether they'repositive ornegative for the HER2-neu factor, and those who have been tested for the BRCA genes.

If you want to volunteer to speak to other survivors, call the hotline at (800) 433-0464 or visit learn more.

New blood test could detect cancer Thu, 06 Jan 2011 20:40:10 -0700 Can you hear My Pink Planner cheering through your monitor?! Well, I am.

It's like a sci-fi invention from the future -- a blood test that can detect several types of cancer including breast, lung and prostate. We live in amazing times. Not that we are happy that we can actually detect cancer, but I'm excited that cancer might be effectively detected with a simple needle stick without mammograms, ultrasound -- I mean, really! A simple blood test might be an easy way to have a woman tested for breast cancer. With lung cancer, the cancer you usually don't find until it's in an advanced stage could be detected earlier when a patient has a better chance of becoming a long-term survivor! This is wicked cool!

My Pink Planner honors Elizabeth Edwards Fri, 10 Dec 2010 18:01:37 -0700 Elizabeth Edwards indeed was a survivor. She achieved and experienced many of life's wonders that none of us will ever experience -- both triumphs and defeats. That's her victory. She didn't let cancer change the way she lived. While it cut her life tragically short, she lived her life on her terms.

For breast cancer survivors, hearing of her passing reminds us of our own diagnosis and makes us realize how fortunate we are to have our health and not to squander it. We also feel sad for a woman who despite fighting the battle of her life was forced to contend with a public humiliation of national proportion. Cancer and emotional distress are tough adversaries for anyone. God bless you for the fight well fought.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: "It's a Wrap!" says My Pink Planner Tue, 09 Nov 2010 20:22:48 -0700

My Pink Planner and other breast cancer patient advocates have breathed a collective sigh after a full month of supporting our sister-survivors. I want to thank you for the ability to raise my voice for you and other cancer patients in need of help.

Because of you, I have been able to represent all My Pink Planners at the following events and stories:

1. Kansas City Cancer Center’s Pinking of the Fountain in Kansas City, Missouri.

2. KU Cancer Center’s and Back in the Swing’s tribute to leading researcher Dr. Carol Fabian

3. Young Survivor Coalition’s annual In Living Pink Gala

4. Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure

5. GE’s Breast Cancer Emotion survivor website

6. Kansas City Star’s feature story about local survivors.

Thank you for the honor of allowing me to represent you in some small way.

Breast Cancer Supporter's Blog Helps Us Stretch a Dollar Tue, 12 Oct 2010 17:46:53 -0700

As if being diagnosed with breast cancer isn’t bad enough, we have to stretch every dollar even further to pay the bills AND pay for worthwhile drugs and treatment to beat cancer. But if you haven’t been a coupon clipper and want to learn how to make your dollar go farther, visit the coolest blog that supports My Pink Planner and all breast cancer survivors. The blog is written by my friend Monique, and it’s called On her blog, Monique tells you about great deals, new products and the latest giveaways. If you can use a good deal, visit Monique’s blog

Breast Cancer Website in the news! Sun, 03 Oct 2010 09:58:52 -0700 You know I don't like to toot my own horn, but today the "Kansas City Star" featured an article about My Pink Planner in their special pink issue. I was so excited to see the article not because of me but because of how useful My Pink Planner is for people who need to organize their volunteers.

Here's a link to the actual article:

Spread the word to people who can use My Pink Planner then let me know what you think about the article!

Whisper Walk for Ovarian Cancer Wed, 15 Sep 2010 19:21:48 -0700 Last June, I met a sweet man, Dave Welsh, at the Bloch Cancer Survivor Rally. He was manning the only table dedicated to educating women about the silent killer -- ovarian cancer. Armed with tons of information, he told me about how his wife was a young victim of ovarian cancer at the age of 52 then his mother passed away shortly afterward.

By the end of the day, I promised I would help him support the walk to promote awareness for the women's disease. So here it goes!

Join us for the Whisper Walk for Ovarian Cancer on Sunday, September 26, 2010, at 7:30 a.m. at Zona Rosa in Kansas City.

Dave, here's to you!

Young Survivor Coalition of KC: Breast Cancer Gala this week Thu, 19 Aug 2010 19:24:36 -0700 If you want to go to a cool event with a good cause, then break out your sassiest survivor dress for the Young Survivor Coalition's "In Living Pink" Gala this Friday, August 27th at the Sheraton Overland Parkin Overland Park, Kansas. Believe me, this is a great event. It's not your mama's fundraiser!

To purchase tickets, visit

From Komen to American Cancer Society: Two Walks of Fame Wed, 18 Aug 2010 20:00:44 -0700 I recently completed the Komen Race for the Cure -- yes, I ran it -- and as I crossed the finish line, I had a sudden rush of emotion. Since it was so hot out, I wore my tank top and carried my Komen shirt in my hand. But the rush came from thinking about all the women who had gone before me. All the mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, grandmothers and friends crossed the line with me on that day because many of them sacrificed their lives in blind studies, taking experimental medications or undergoing therapies that now seem barbaric in comparison to therapies practiced today. The heat was no sacrifice as I raised my "hot" pink Komen shirt in both hands over my head for all my sisters in the fight for the cure. I waved my shirt for them!

Survivor Lisa Randall, right, and My Pink Planner

KU Cancer Center's Dream Team

My friend Eric Z. and me

Komen, see you all next year!

Breast Cancer Survivors Wanted for a Study Fri, 30 Jul 2010 14:41:47 -0700 A friend of mine and nurse who is working on her dissertation is conducting a study on how women make treatment decisions once they have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her name is Cheryl Spittler, and she has been touched by breast cancer as her mother and sister are both thriving survivors.

Cheryl is a highly capable practitioner, and works closely with survivors at a plastic surgeon's practice.

Here is the link if you are interested:

KU Breast Cancer Survivor Study

I am going to participate. Join me!

Kudos to Bloch Cancer Survivor Rally! Sat, 12 Jun 2010 17:46:47 -0700 I recently was lucky enough to be invited back to have an informational table at the Bloch Cancer Survivor Rally. I saw a lot of good friends. I met a lot of new friends, too.

Over the coming weeks, I will be introducing you to all my friends and partners in cancer survivorship!

In the meantime, it was a really cool event. Rosanne and Vangie and all the volunteers outdid themselves yet again. The Marching Cobras opened up the day's events. Then newscasters from every station -- all survivors -- shared personal stories about cancer. Then my friend KMBC-TV's Larry Moore introduced his colleague and fellow survivor football Hall-of Fame quarterback Len Dawson. Len shared the story about his wife pushing him to get a check-up. That advice saved his life. Len had early stage cancer.

Way to go, Len!

SURVIVORS: Join the Cancer Survivor Rally Tue, 18 May 2010 19:19:09 -0700 Bloch Cancer Foundation

Cancer survivors unite! Join the R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation has once again invited My Pink Planner to set up an educational booth at their Cancer Survivor Rally.

The rally takes place on Sunday, June 6, 2010, at 12:00 p.m. at the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Pavillion on the west side of the Country Club Plaza.

Bring your questions and survivor attitude where you can meet health care providers, doctors and hospitals and other support resources from around the metropolitan area.

If you know a cancer patient needing to talk to someone with their type of cancer (it's not only for breast cancer patients),call the incredible volunteers at the Bloch Cancer Hotline 24-7 at (800) 433-0464.

See you there!

Komen for the Cure Survivor Lunch in one word...AWESOME! Sun, 02 May 2010 08:08:21 -0700 Komen KC logo Kansas City's annual Survivor Luncheon completely rocked yesterday! Besides seeing a lot of good friends and listening to an Jenne Fromme speak (as if that's not enough), I was so encouraged by some of the activities Komen will be pursuing.

First, Komen will be working to repair the damage brought on by the "opinion" that mammograms for early detection are not necessary. AWESOME!

Second, Komen is working with state lawmakers to garner support for all aspects of breast cancer research and survivor support. EXCELLENT!

Third, I want to plug the next Race for the Cure which will be August 8, 2010.

See you there!

Cancer: Bilingual support for survivors Sun, 21 Feb 2010 14:06:05 -0700 The R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation reports a great resource for every aspect of support for your survivor, and offers the service in Spanish, too.The American Society of Clinical Oncologists covers issues regarding the following topics: cancer types and their treatments

  • support
  • advocacy
  • coping
  • survivorship
  • publications & resources
  • general information on cancer
  • finding an oncologist

For more information, visit cancer support.

Reaching out to breast cancer survivors Sat, 30 Jan 2010 13:51:36 -0700 When I came up with the idea for My Pink Planner, it was definitely out of necessity. Now I realize that in trying to help my family, more survivors and their families may benefit in a way I never knew.

By providing a tool on the internet, survivors see we are making sure that breast cancer is not a secret to be talked about in private circles or with our girlfriends, but with anyone and everyone. We have benefitted by years of medical research, but it's still the human outreach that helps us heal physically and emotionally.

Weshouldalso reach out to those with other types of cancer. We have a common bond that allows us to understand the complexity of issues cancer survivors face and triumphs of the human spirit.

Senate race over healthcare Tue, 19 Jan 2010 19:48:57 -0700 Tonight, there is a senate race in Massachusetts that may well determine the outcome of healthcare reform much less turn the political tide in the other direction. No matter what your politics, as cancer survivors, we stand as our own advocates as well as for those sister-survivors in the middle of the battle of their lives, our daughters, friends and family. This race represents the battle over the freedom to choose our healthcare. Is it a perfect healthcare system? No way, but it's the best system in the world with groundbreaking research and treatments. I hope we all know what kind of "reform" we want and the reform we are willing to accept no matter whattonight's outcome may be.

Holiday T-shirts for a cause Tue, 15 Dec 2009 16:35:23 -0700 Holiday My Pink Planner t-shirts

Shop for a cause! Don't forget those last minute stocking stuffers as we close in on the last shopping days before the holidays! My Pink Planner is selling the coolest black t-shirt and the sweetest pink shirt forsassy Mom's. Buy one today by clicking on, contributing $40and sending me an email with the size and style of shirt along with your mailing address, and I will make sure you have this cute and affordable gift!

Bryant Gumbel Has Lung Cancer Tue, 08 Dec 2009 20:00:54 -0700 Bryant Gumbel

Today, another celebrity, sports anchor Bryant Gumbel, announced he is a cancer survivor. Gumbel said he had a malignant tumor along with part of his lung removed recently. With little more information about the progress of his disease, says that 10% of people diagnosed with primary lung cancer are still alive 5 years after diagnosis. Not that I am trying to depress you by affirming what many of us already know, it is good to know that lung cancer research is becoming a priority. Since the death of actress Dana Reeve who was 44 when she died only months after being diagnosed, her passing has brought to light the urgency to find a cure.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Look Back Wed, 25 Nov 2009 20:35:03 -0700 Missouri Governor Jay Nixon The Block Cancer Hotline, which I volunteer for, invited me to represent them at the Missouri Governor's mansion during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The event was sponsored by the Missouri Women's Business Council, and welcomed nearly 100 representatives from nonprofit organizations whichsupports breast cancer patients.

Missouri's First Lady welcomed nearly 100 survivors and organizations to the mansion

Officials from the Missouri Women's Business Council, left, sponsored the event at the Missouri Governor's mansion Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared October Breast Cancer Awareness Month statewide.

Missouri's First Lady spoke at the ceremony The First Lady was so gracious at welcoming so many survivors in her home. What a sweet person!

My husband and I were like kids posing in front of the mansion I was giddy, and my patient husband placated me by posing for a self-portrait. Thanks, honey, for being patient with me during this crazy month!

No Mammograms at 40?! Tue, 17 Nov 2009 07:12:22 -0700 After reading about the newest suggestions for mammogram guidelines for women 40 years-old. I am not only incensed but enraged at the politicizing of our healthcare after fighting years to get annual mammograms covered by insurance companies. First of all, none of the physicians involved in the study are oncologists. I can't believe that the government who funded the study believes we are so ignorant that we can't see that their motivation to ration our rights to obtain the medical care we pay for. I would love to hear Dr. Carol Fabian's opinion -- she IS an oncologist AND a leading cancer researcher. Secondly, the study puts no validity on breast self-exams. WHAT?! This is now laughable. It's obvious there is no scientific truth in these recommendations. I don't know any one survivor who didn't discover their lump in a self-exam or through a mammogram. I hope this ridiculous "news" motivates you to contact your oncologist to ask them to oppose these suggestions and stay informed on issues affecting our breast health and lives.

Cleaning for a Reason Sun, 15 Nov 2009 21:12:12 -0700 A good friend of mine, Maryalice, shot me an email that I think you need to hear. If you or the survivor in your life is undergoing chemo and needs someone to help cleaning your house, there's a nationalnonprofit that will clean your house once-a-month for four months FREE!

All you have to do is have your oncologist fax a note saying you're receiving treatment -- yeah, like you would make something up like that -- and that's it. Just visit their website at, enter your zip code, and they will do the rest.

Promise to send this to any breast cancer patient undergoing treatment!

A Night at the Pi Sat, 17 Oct 2009 16:28:01 -0700

I am reporting live from the scene of Blush's "Green" dress-up event to benefit breast cancer. Come on you guys, get down here! They're doing hair, make-up, massages, and registering your gently-worn formalwear on Blush's E-bay-style auction. I am sitting here two hours after arriving to an empty gallery. Now, Brianne and Tracy have set-up the silent auction, prepared the food and put the bar together. I cannot believe how great this place looks and how organized they are. I will continue to blog from here the rest of the evening and post photos when I can.

Thank you, Brianne and Tracy, for helping support breast cancer survivors everywhere!

Mommie Knows Best Knows My Pink Planner Sat, 10 Oct 2009 07:31:22 -0700 Cadie and her 3 boys on the first day of schoolEveryone who knows me, knows I don't like a lot of attention. But recently My Pink Planner's good friend, Cadie Connors, who started her own fantastic blog about everything Mommie, called "Mommie Knows Best" put me in the spotlight. Now, while I am a little taken aback by the attention, Cadie is a cherished friend. She is the type of person I wish I could be but so glad that I know. I love to talk to her. Laugh at her hilarious stories. Learn from her. And most of all, love her like a sister. Enough of our love-fest. Cadie's new blog featured My Pink Planner as her first "Best Mommie of the Month." You will love to read about her touching and funny stories about her family. Please bookmark her blog as you will love to read it regularly! Way to go, Cadie! I heart you!

Blush’s “Green” Dress-Up Event to Benefit Breast Cancer -- Please Come!! Fri, 09 Oct 2009 16:07:52 -0700 I might sound repetitious, but a friend of My Pink Planner, Blush, is holding an event to benefit my website. Please come and connect with other survivors! Here's the news release I wrote for the event.

Want to “go green” in your closet, but wondering what to do with that little black dress you haven’t worn in a while? Let Blush, a live internet auction for wedding, formalwear and designer clothes, help with its premier “Dress Up” event to benefit breast cancer survivors. The event will take place on Saturday, October 17, 2009, from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the Pi Gallery at 419 East 18th Street, Kansas City, Missouri, next to Grinder’s. The hip, glam-bash will take a picture of your dress, help you upload your garment to the E-bay-style with a Craig’s List-feel auction while you party the night away! The evening includes live music, silent auction and plenty of fun for both guys and gals. Admission is $10 per person plus one item – dresses, suits or jewelry – you want to sell online on Blush’s online auction. 100% of the ticket cost goes to “Back in the Swing” and My Pink, a website that organizes a breast cancer patient’s life. To learn more about Blush’s online auction, visit To learn more about helping breast cancer survivors, visit

Please join me at the Pi Gallery. I will have a table there, and would love to meet you!

Christina Applegate Brings Back Lee Denim Day Wed, 30 Sep 2009 19:11:30 -0700 Christina Applegate

Two reasons why Lee Jeans "Denim Day" makes a comeback, and it's not why you think. One is Christina Applegate. The other is Christina Applegate. It took this American sweetheart to breathe new life into Lee's observance of Breast Cancer Awareness remember, it encouraged "Denim Friday's" in workplaces across the country.

Applegate has single-handedly reminded us that wearing jeans on Friday's is an honor.

P.S. Can you believe how fantastic she looks? I didn't even recognize her!!!

Blush’s “Green” dress-up event to benefit breast cancer Tue, 29 Sep 2009 15:56:45 -0700 Blush Company

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (September 29, 2009) –Want to “go green” in your closet, but wondering what to do with that little black dress you haven’t worn in a while?

Let Blush, a live internet auction for wedding, formalwear and designer clothes, help with its premier “Dress Up” event to benefit breast cancer survivors. The event will take place on Saturday, October 17, 2009, from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the Pi Gallery at 419 East 18th Street, Kansas City, Missouri, next to Grinder’s. The hip, glam-bash will take a picture of your dress, help you upload your garment to the E-bay-style with a Craig’s List-feel auction while you party the night away! The evening includes live music, silent auction and plenty of fun for both guys and gals. Admission is $10 per person plus one item – dresses, suits or jewelry – you want to sell online on Blush’s online auction. 100% of the ticket cost goes to “Back in the Swing” and My Pink, a website that organizes a breast cancer patient’s life. To learn more about Blush’s online auction, visit To learn more about helping breast cancer survivors, visit

About Blush: What do you do with the formal apparel hanging in your closet that you never wear anymore? Blush Company has the perfect solution for you- Our internet auctions allow users to both buy and sell items to the highest bidder and our "Buy Now!" feature makes it easy to purchase items right away! It’s a great way to buy and sell formal wear, make money and save money...get started NOW! Please join me at "Dress-Up" to help keep My Pink Planner live!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Observed with "Survivor Stories" Tue, 22 Sep 2009 18:11:46 -0700 October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Even with it still a week away, My Pink Planner is observing the month by highlighting stories about breast cancer survivors. The following is a story by a survivor who, like many survivors, allow their illness redefine their lives for the better!

When I was forty, I was told that I had breast cancer. That day—that moment—changed my life forever. I had all these thoughts of how long do I have, what about this, and what about that. I remember I stayed in those thoughts for a while before I was able to think about something other than cancer.

During that time my path crossed with a beautiful lady named Lisa. This lady gave me the strength I needed to help me put my life back together. I remember one day I asked her if my life will ever get to a point where I can smile again…even laugh. Lisa had already gone through this ordeal herself, and she was happy to tell me that I would get to a time where I would enjoy life and so much more.

I remember how those words sounded and thought, I HOPE she is right.

It is my pleasure to share with you that she was right, and dear friends, one day you will experience life past cancer. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, it does not mean life is over.

It took me a while to figure that out, but eventually I realized that this was actually a strengthening experience for me.

I remember how Lisa helped give me the support and encouragement when I needed it most. And now I want to help others who face the challenges of breast cancer and other illnesses. That’s why I founded Wings of Angels—to provide support and comfort to individuals dealing with recovery treatments. Each gift basket and care package is filled with items carefully selected by me, knowing what will soothe and comfort the healing patient. I invite you to browse the selection of care packages and breast cancer gift baskets at

Live your life for today. It is your gift. Cherish it.

Linda Fisher

Patrick Swayze Dies from Cancer Mon, 14 Sep 2009 17:48:05 -0700 Lisa Niemi and Patrick Swayze at one of the many red carpet events.

This photo is how I will remember Patrick Swayze -- the actor, dancer and singer who has died after a nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. What can you say about a person who waged war on this swiftly-killing disease that normally claims lives 3-6 months after diagnoses? You can say he was a worthy adversary, a fighter. He was a a survivor whose body could no longer go on, but whose mind inspired us allto fight. Swayze was dignified during his very public battle especially when he starred in a cable television series while he underwent treatment. That's a true survivor.

I want to tell you about my near-brush with Mr. Swayze. I never met him, but it was the anticipation of working with him that I have never spoken about. I was living in San Antonio, Texas, when my agent was casting a movie called "Road House" that was to be shot nearby. I was asked if I wouldbe a stand-in for his character's love interest, actress Dana Delaney. Delaney eventually backed out of the role and the chance to meet and work with Patrick Swayze was scrapped.

Bloch Cancer Hotline: A Breast Cancer Lifeline Wed, 09 Sep 2009 16:39:02 -0700 Many cancer patients don't realize that there is always someone just like them...someone who has been there, and, unfortunately, done that. But there is, and sometimes it is easier to talk to someone who has been through the same treatment, seen the same doctor or had the same surgery. Moreover, I think it's good to talk to another survivor to see there is light at the end of the cancer tunnel. If you or someone you know would like to talk to another cancer survivor, the R.A. Bloch Cancer Hotline can hook you up with someone just like you. Call anytime or anywhere at (800) 433-0464. The hotline is based here in Kansas City, and is nationwide.

P.S. I volunteer for the Cancer Hotline, and those folks ROCK!

Calling all My Pink Planners and Volunteers! Tue, 01 Sep 2009 07:33:22 -0700 The first day I visited my oncologist after being diagnosed, a friend, Caroline, who was a friend of my sister's, asked if she could accompany me to my first visit. Not knowing that this would be one of the most harrowing days of my life, she gladly met us at the hospital. Caroline had the "I know this is going to be hard" look in her eye when we were talking to Dr. Fabian. When the doctor told me that she wanted to shut down my ovaries right now and that I couldn't have children for 5 years, she knew we were trying to get pregnant, she quietly supported me. When I called my brother the doctor to get his opinion, she rubbed my back as I cried to on the phone. Here is a woman who was a 7 year survivor. Was pregnant when she was diagnosed. Underwent experimental treatment rubbing my whining back because I couldn't have anymore children.

It didn't matter why I was crying. She understood that cancer was ravaging another life, another family. Caroline was my supporter, my first volunteer.

If youhave a volunteer you want tothank or a survivor you want to talk about, e-mail me your story at

Back to Survivors for My Pink Planner! Tue, 25 Aug 2009 16:54:11 -0700 If you have wondered where I have been these past weeks, I have been planning an international event for my real job. The event in New York was a success, and I'm back to my passion for my sister-survivors!

There is so much to talk about -- mostly about my 5-year survivor anniversary coming up in October. I have thought of several ways I would like to commemorate this milestone -- a party, a quiet dinner with my husband and son -- but I want to hear from YOU! How are you going to celebrate your next anniversary? E-mail your suggestions to, and I will send you a My Pink Planner t-shirt! Just let me know what size t-shirt you wear and where you live.

My Pink Planner's Addendum on Health Care Reform Wed, 29 Jul 2009 19:35:20 -0700 I want to update you all on my reasons for believing so strongly in opposing health care reform. It is not a political issue nor is it an emotional issue. When I was growing up, both my parents worked to support my 7 brothers and sisters and myself. We were all very healthy. But Iremember hearing my parents talk about the need to have medical insurance just in case one of my parents feel ill. Soon after that my sisterbegan experiencing drastic mood swings and narcolepsy among other symptoms. My sister was eventually diagnosed with a brain tumor. She was 14 years-old. She had chemotherapy without success and the maximum amount of radiation allowed. She was hospitalized when she finally was sent to a major New York surgeon for removal of the tumor. Needless to say, a large portion her medical expenses were covered by health insurance leaving just aslarge a balance that quickly dried up my parent's retirement. I remember that even though my parents paid a lot for their insurance, they were free to seek the top doctors in the country, not penalized for seeking out the best of the world's medical care. Yes, their medical bills were huge, but it was the knowledge they had done everything imaginable to help my sister. Today, she holds a job, drives a car and is a fantastic chef. What is my point? This country has the best medical care in the world. The system has flaws, but without the system many of us might not be here today.

My Pink Planner: A breast cancer survivor against health care reform Wed, 29 Jul 2009 12:57:36 -0700 Health care bill has been pushed through theHouse. Politics aside, I have written my representative an e-mail today against reform. I am a young breast cancer survivor, and if this bill had been law when I was diagnosed, I would be dead right now. I would not have received speedy treatment to kill the rapid-growing tumor in my body. Not only would I be dead but my 7 year-old son with special needs would be motherless. E-mail your representative to vote down health care reform of any kind. The only good health care reform is tort reform.

My Pink Planner Thanks "Farrah's Story" Fri, 26 Jun 2009 07:48:46 -0700 Farrah Fawcett, Courtesy Getty Images

It's a story of LIVING with cancer. Actress Farrah Fawcett, 62, known for her beauty and flowing blonde hair, died Thursday from anal cancer. Even though we may ponder our own cancer survival when we see such a vital person succombe to cancer, she has left us a story of courage and love. Her documentary is called "Farrah's Story" which is a personal and raw look at her cancer journey. I must admit that I couldn't watch the show in its entirety because it resonated so deeply with me. But I commend her for her bravery and thank her family for their generosity for sharing her story. Here is a clip from that program

Attention all My Pink Planners! It's the Relay for Life! Thu, 18 Jun 2009 19:55:02 -0700 I know this is late notice, but I am going to be at the American Cancer Society Relay for Life tomorrow in Overland Park, Kansas, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Please come out to see the proud group of survivors and their families.

E-mail me if you can make it at!

See you there!

Cancer Survivor Rally a Success! Wed, 10 Jun 2009 09:10:47 -0700 My Pink Planner at the Cancer Survivor RallyUpdate from the field...Thank you to the good friends and new friends I met at the Cancer Survivor Rally on Sunday. It was 90 degrees in the shade so I had a key position next to the cold bottled water thanks to Rosanne at the Cancer Hotline! Speaking of Rosanne, she did an incredible job organizing a greatevent. There were the top hospitals and cancer resources withthe latest information about treatments. Thank you, Cancer Hotline, for holding this event which is key to place "Survivorship" in the forefront of our minds.

Support the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act Mon, 01 Jun 2009 08:24:24 -0700 Many of My Pink Planner's friends have asked me to spread the word about the bill that would require insurance companies to pay for a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for patients undergoing a mastectomy.

Please take a few moments to read this entry from a surgeon.

"Proposed Mastectomy Law Change

(written by a surgeon);

I'll never forget the look in my patients eyes when I had to tell them they

had to go home with the drains, new exercises and no breast. I remember

begging the doctors to keep these women in the hospital longer, only to hear

that they would, but their hands were tied by the insurance companies.

So there I sat with my patient giving them the instructions they needed to

take care of themselves, knowing full well they didn't grasp half of what I

was saying, because the glazed, hopeless, frightened look spoke louder than

the quiet 'Thank you' they muttered.

A mastectomy is when a woman's breast is removed in order to remove

cancerous breast cells/tissue. If you know anyone who has had a mastectomy,

you may know that there is a lot of discomfort and pain afterwards.

Insurance companies are trying to make mastectomies an outpatient procedure.

Let's give women the chance to recover properly in the hospital for 2 days

after surgery.

This Mastectomy Bill is in Congress now. It takes 2 seconds to do this and

is very important. Please take the time and do it really quick! The Breast

Cancer Hospitalization Bill is important legislation for all women.

Please send this to everyone in your address book. If there was ever a time

when our voices and choices should be heard, this is one of those times. If

you're receiving this, it's because I think you will take the 30 seconds to

go to vote on this issue and send it on to others you know who will do the


There's a bill called the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act which will

require insurance companies to cover a minimum 48-hour hospital stay for

patients undergoing a mastectomy. It's about eliminating the 'drive-through

mastectomy' where women are forced to go home just a few hours after

surgery, against the wishes of their doctor, still groggy from anesthesia

and sometimes with drainage tubes still attached.

Lifetime Television has put this bill on their web page with a petition

drive to show your support.. Last year over half the House signed on.

PLEASE! Sign the petition by clicking on the web site below. You need not

give more than your name and zip code number.


Another Celebrity with Cancer Wed, 27 May 2009 17:42:32 -0700 Christina Applegate. Sheryl Crowe. Lance Armstrong. These are all young, strong survivors of cancer. I was forcedto recall each of their stories and how early detection saved their lives. Last week, a friend of My Pink Planner, I'll call her Stacy, stopped by my office at my real job with a wide smile on her face. Stacy is very refined, demure and gentle. She had a breast biopsy a week before, and she expected the news today. She was not afraid. She was hopeful since breast cancer runs in her family, and because she routinely performs her breast exams and has a mammogram. I wasn't too worried except for the fact she told me. I always get nervous when I know someone has a biopsy -- so I silently said a quick prayer for her. Stacy has an exceptional work ethic. She arrives at the office at 6:00 a.m. every morning to begin her job in our accounting department. Stacy always wears a smile and never speaks badly about anyone. About an hour later, she peeked her head in the door, and with that smile she walked briskly in my office -- this time her eyes were bloodshot.

"I have it," Stacy said. " It's very early, stage 0, but I have it."

I felt my heart pound in my ears.

Not Stacy. No, not her.

All she was worried about was how to tell her parents who live overseas. She didn't want to worry them. That's Stacy. Always concerned for someone else. I told her how I broke the news to my parents.

She told me the next day her parents took the news well. She was relieved.

If we must endure the trauma of cancer, I feel we owe it to other survivors to support them in ANY way we can.

I'm here, Stacy, as your advocate or as your friend.

Join My Pink Planner at the Bloch Cancer Survivor Rally Thu, 21 May 2009 08:38:09 -0700 Calling all Breast Cancer Survivors! For the second year, My Pink Planner has been invited to have a booth at the Survivor Rally to commemorate National Cancer Survivors Day. Please come down and show your support for the survivor in your life!

Sunday, June 7, 2009
1:00pm - 2:00pm
Richard & Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Park
48th and Roanoke
Kansas City, MO

E-mail me at to let me know you will be there!

Christina Applegate -- The Beautiful Face of Survival! Sat, 16 May 2009 18:55:50 -0700 breast cancer survivor knows who THIS Christina is. That's because she makes breast cancer survivors look Hollywood-glam as she graces the cover of a recent "People" magazine. Breast cancer survivors don't want to be patronized. We want to live and live long, productive, and, yes, "sexy" lives. We go through so much -- surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hair-loss, and so much more. Christina underwent a grueling situation complete with agressive double mastectomy surgery -- all in the glare of the media spotlight -- with the grace of a survivor. I hope Christina knows what a great role model she has become for newly diagnosed women and those undergoing treatment. Thanks, Christina!

My Pink Planner at Komen Survivor Lunch Fri, 10 Apr 2009 14:34:55 -0700 My Pink Planner's Komen Survivor Luncheon Booth

My Pink Planner met many of our friends at the recent Susan Komen Survivor Lunch. We had a blast!

My Pink Planner and Wigged Out at Komen Survivor Luncheon

Tina Herold, owner of Wigged Out a wig boutique run by a survivor for survivors, shared her booth on steroids! It was the coolest rock and roll booth I have ever seen. It was two survivors, Tina and myself, connecting to so many women who give us strength to continue.

Wigged Out Crew

There we sold cool pink and black t-shirts and met a bunch of new friends.

Pregnancy after Chemotherapy Tue, 24 Mar 2009 19:09:23 -0700 When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my husband and I were trying to get pregnant. On my first visit to the oncologist, the doctor wanted to shut down my ovaries with monthly shots to throw me into menopause. The worst part was that they would need to be shut down for FIVE YEARS!

I know what you're thinking -- let's see, cure, pregnancy, life, pregnancy. H-m-m, let's see, I'll go with life.

It's almost been five years since that first shot, but I can't deny that I really want to have another baby. We love our son, but we would love to have at least another child. I have thought to myself I must be ungrateful to want to take a chance on getting cancer again just to have a baby. I can't even believe I think about taking a risk like that, but I'm from a large family and always wanted to have more than one child. Let's throw one more variable into the mix. After having poisonous chemotherapy and radiation, can I even have children? So, I started researching this subject. The best article I could find says it depends on your age and your type of treatment.

1. Age: The closer you are to 50 years when your ovaries were shut down increases the chances of infertility.

2. Type of chemotherapy: The type of chemo drugs you were administered makes a difference. Some types of chemo can damage your eggs or throw you permanently into menopause.

Oh, well, it looks likewehave some timebefore I have to make a decision.

My Pink Planner with More Ways to Stay in Touch -- Facebook and Twitter! Wed, 11 Mar 2009 17:50:53 -0700 FacebookWith the popularity of new social media or forums to communicate, My Pink Planner wants to hear more from you. Visit my Facebook page at See photos videos and meet other friends of My Pink Planner. Ever wonder what My Pink Planner is doing right now? Check out my Twitter page at I can't wait to hear from you!

Genetic Testing Discovery by Komen Foundation Sun, 08 Mar 2009 19:36:05 -0700 A new discovery by the Susan G. Komen Foundation identifies a set of 50 genes that doctors can use to personalize your treatment to fit your type of breast cancer. The new set of genes help identify the four known types of breast cancer. Current genetic testing works on women whose tumors are lymph-node negative, estrogen-receptor positive. This new discovery will help any woman with breast cancer. Go Komen!

For more information, visit

LET'S DO LUNCH! Komen Kansas City Breast Cancer Survivor Luncheon! Fri, 27 Feb 2009 13:48:46 -0700 Susan G. Komen logo

My Pink Planner's great friend, Laurie Roberts, is heading up this great event for the Komen Foundation here in Kansas City. It's going to be a great time with a featuring TV Personality Rene Syler and Retail Therapy!

Here are the details:
Kansas City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Total Party - Benefit
Saturday, April 4, 2009
10:00am - 2:00pm
Overland Park Convention Center
Overland Park, KS

Meet you there!!

SAVE THE DATE! Bloch Cancer Hotline to Celebrate Survivor's Day Rally! Mon, 23 Feb 2009 19:47:50 -0700 Richard Bloch founder of the National Cancer HotlineIn 1980, Richard Bloch and his wife, Annette, vowed to help others with cancer when doctors declared him to be free of colon cancer. Today, Bloch's legacy includes a Cancer Survivor and Park here in Kansas City as well as the National Cancer Hotline which offers resources to cancer patients. Bloch also spearheaded the Cancer Survivor Day rally at the same park that bears his name which will be held on June 7, 2009 from noon to 3:00.

This is so exciting because this will be the second time My Pink Planner will have a booth at the rally. Last year, I met so many incredible survivors and their families that I promised to do the rally as long as they will have me! Thank you, Rosanne!

Also, for anyone who needs medical resources or simply wants to talk to another survivor, call the National Cancer Hotline, based here in Kansas City at (816) 854-8080 or 1-800-433-0464. See you in June!

Clark Howard Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer Thu, 19 Feb 2009 08:19:30 -0700 Clark Howard diagnosed with cancerConsumer advocate and television and radio talk show host, Clark Howard, reveals to his listeners that he has been diagnosed with early stages of cancer. His doctors have been monitoring his PSA for months, but a biopsy confirmed a "very, very" small amount of cancer. Howard admits he is lucky to catch his cancer and knows his chances of survival are very good.

Howard's news comes after my own recent personal experience with cancer. My father-in-law, Jack Kitchin, passed away this week after an 18-month battle with cancer. He discovered the disease in the late stages after a blood test showed cells in his bloodstream. "Papa Jack," as we called him, was only given 6-9 months to live, but he fought the whole time with an arsenal of chemotherapy and support from prayers and M.D. Anderson Cancer Clinics in Houston. During my treatment, Papa Jack was one of my strongest supporters. He prayed for me. He sat with me when I got the flu right after my mastectomies. He was a quiet, cool-headed fighter, always ready to help us with anything. Papa, you epitomize the word "Survivor." We love you!

Breast Cancer Research Breakthrough! Wed, 04 Feb 2009 19:30:41 -0700 According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, scientists have discovered a gene that plays a key role inincreasing the mestasis of breast cancer. The single gene does so by making the aggresive cancer easier to spread and by making cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy. The gene called MTDH seems to be involved in a third of all breast cancers. Researchers not only wereable to identify the gene but they showed how this gene helps tumors spread. The remarkable fact is that drugs can now be developed to block the gene -- keeping cancer from spreading. Amazing!!
Susan G. Komen has truly changed the way the world perceives breast cancer, and the way the medical community treats our disease!

My Pink Planner on Twitter Sun, 01 Feb 2009 16:09:59 -0700 If you're anything like me, you love to talk to other survivors, but you have a busy schedule that makes it hard to attend events and meetings.

How about use the My Pink Planner social network on Twitter a website that makes it easy to talk to other survivors in real time? Visit you can see me "Tweet" about anything and everything that's going on around me. If you sign-up for your own account on, and "follow", then you can receive my tweets as they happen and tweet directly with me. You can also tweet with others following Happy tweeting!

A Study on Mastectomies Wed, 28 Jan 2009 17:57:03 -0700 I remember a cook in my mother's Mexican restaurant was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was a little girl. No one talked about her cancer. The doctors gave her the only option available at the time -- a radical mastectomy. The surgeons removed her muscle from her breast area to her armpit. She was in constant pain, and rarely complained. Imagine how far research has come.

Today,a new study may help breast cancer patients determine whether to have a preventive mastectomy on the other breast. Researchers from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center found three independent risk factors that help determine whether cancer is likely to spread to the second breast: (1) having more than one tumor in the original breast; (2) having a tumor that starts in the milk-producing lobes but spreads around the breast instead of forming one solid lump; (3) having a high score on the "Gail risk model," which takes into account age, race, age at first childbirth, and family history of breast cancer. The researchers hope their findings can help guide women and perhaps reassure many that they don't need to have the second breast removed just to be safe.

I know I talk about it a lot, but the mindset of the breast cancer community has come a long way!

My Pink Planner Support is There for You! Thu, 22 Jan 2009 16:36:35 -0700 I just got off the phone with a volunteer trying to sign-in to her friend's My Pink Planner by going to the site and entering her friend's password. She called my phone looking for help. Her issue has been a recurring issue with some of you, and I want to remind you that your Planner must send you an Invite in order for you to logon to her My Pink Planner. My main concern has been to protect the Planner's privacy whilehelping her control the volunteers during her personal cancer journey. I am looking into an easier option that will retain the privacy while allowing ease for you all. That change may not happen for a while, but as soon as it does I will let you know. What this really shows you is that I will answer your phone calls for support.

A Nurse with the Hands of an Angel Sun, 11 Jan 2009 16:33:01 -0700 This week I made my monthly pit-stop at KU Medical Center to shut down my ovaries. Usually, every nurse runs screaming when they hear I'm there for a shot in my stomach. Except for Denise, the wonder nurse, most of the nurses admit they would do literally anything other than pinching the fat on a woman's stomach and pushing an 18 gauge needle with a capsule into your gut. You can imagine how I feel when I don't see Denise coming into my treatment room. I am always willing to work with the new nurses. But there is a Nurse Rachet whose rough demeanor has left me in more pain from the shot than after my sentinel node biopsy.

However, Friday I met Sharon, a fill-in nurse, who normally works at a cancer center in Lawrence. She was perky, professional and practical. She gently shot Lidocaine to numb the area on my lower belly which would be the target for the big shot. I barely felt it. Now it was the big needle's turn -- hey, I'm still upright! I didn't feel that either. I want to say thank you to Sharon for her help, and I hope to see her soon!

My Pink Planner's 9th Day of Christmas Sat, 20 Dec 2008 20:14:59 -0700 There are so many experiences during the first Christmas after my diagnosis that made me realize the actual "miracle" of having cancer. I am a firm believer that you go through major life events not to learn something, but for others around you to learn something. Sometimes that lesson is just as hard for you as it is for those around you -- wait, I'll explain what I mean.

I have told you many times that I created My Pink Planner because I needed help keeping my life moving while I was sick. That's true. But there the real reason wasn't revealed until later.

When my family and friends learned that I had been diagnosed, I received phone calls, e-mails and visits from friends, family, acquaintances -- most I knew, many who knew of me. Those kind people believed that my husband and I had been through some tough times when our son was ill, and they wanted to help us. What they didn't realize is that they needed to help someone. They needed to feel that they could do something good for somebody whose life seemed to be out of control. They did.

My Pink Planner was created to gather people from all walks of life together who had a desire to make a difference in our lives. It was hard for those friends and family to see me go through mastectomies, chemotherapy, and radiation. I could see it in their eyes every time they saw my gleaming bald head. So helping my family was therapy for them, and I welcomed their help. It wasn't easy accepting help from people -- especially from people I didn't knowwell.

Here are nine kindnesses that I reluctantly accepted:

  1. Michele brought me a special angled pillow for me to sleep on.
  2. Maureen scrubbed my bathroom floor on her hands and knees with bleach and a scrub brush.
  3. Eileen washed our laundry.
  4. Mom vacuumed our house.
  5. Mr. Kitchin, a busy attorney, sat with me at our house when I had the stomach flu.
  6. Mary Alice dropped off the best casserole I had ever eaten.
  7. Lisa Klemp at KU personally escorted me through my first office visit with Dr. Fabian.
  8. Aunt Mimi drove me to have my hair washed and cut even though it had begun falling out.
  9. Christine gave me a statue of the Blessed Mother that was blessed by Pope John Paul, II.
  10. These are some of the reasons I created My Pink Planner -- to harness the goodness of people whose hearts ached to do good.
My Pink Planner's 10th Day of Christmas: A Trip to Santa Thu, 18 Dec 2008 12:34:33 -0700 This is the third-part in a series of stories about the experiences from Christmas 2004 -- only 5 weeks after I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

It was December 22nd, only a few days before Christmas. I was instructed not to lift my three year-old son, Johnnie; not to do housework; and not over-exert myself.

Come on! Let's be real. It was right before Christmas, and I hadn't done most of the things a mother of a toddler does at Christmas time.

I couldn't go shopping. I couldn't drive a car. I couldn't even sign holiday cards because my right arm ached whenever Ilifted my arm to write. All I knew was that I had a toddler who knew something was wrong with his mommy.

One of the mom's at our babysitter's home had a daughter and son who Johnnie was sure had hung the moon. Mom, Bernadette, knew I had been diagnosed, and always loved her kids to play with Johnnie.

One day, she called to ask if Johnnie had seen Santa Claus yet this year. When I told her no, she said she was taking her kids to have their pictures taken with Santa,and couldshe take Johnnie with her. She knew I was in no shape to wrangle him physically, and she assured me that she could handle him. It was the hardest and easiest question I had ever answered.

I said, "Yes!"Johnnie loved Santa Claus, and never showed any fear of the red-suited, chubby old man. I wanted him to have at least this normal experience even if I couldn't be there with him.

Bernadette, Brennan and Annika brought me back a Polaroid picture of Johnnie with Santa -- one of the best memories this Mom has ever had.

My Pink Planner's 11th Day of Christmas: Thu, 11 Dec 2008 15:25:03 -0700 This is the second installment in our series of celebrating the holidays.

It was a cold, cold December night in 2004-- the week before Christmas. I was a couple of weeks out from my double mastectomies. I was a little sore, but feeling really optimistic about the future.

I was at home with my husband and our little boy enjoying the warm fire in the fireplace. We had rented a movie, and were getting ready to watch it.

Our doorbell rang. I thought, "Who would be crazy enough to be out in single-digit temperatures?"

I opened the door to find a woman, our babysitter's neighbor, Kathy Hopfinger, and her extended family of at LEAST 11 people standing on the lawn. They were carrying lighted candles, and singing something. I couldn't hear them very well, so I leaned outside to hear what they were saying. It took me a second to realize they were singing "Silent Night." I was stunned.

I had visited geriatric centers before singing Christmas caroles for the residents, but no one ever sang for me! I hadn't known Kathy very well or very long, but I had seen her that morning when I picked Johnnie up. Now she had gathered her family together to sing to us. Her single act of kindness made me realize that a kindness doesn't have to be something you want, but a kindness can be something you may unknowingly need. Her action took away my breath to the point that I knew I was having a "God Moment." That's a moment that was truly inspired by goodness, kindness and compassion.

My Pink Planner's 12 Days of Christmas: Day One Thu, 04 Dec 2008 11:26:15 -0700 In the coming weeks, I will share with you some experiences that make holidays like Christmas and Hannakah even more special than ever.

It was December 23, 2004. I was three weeks out from having my double mastectomies. I remember the date because my doctor was finally able to remove the drainage tubes from my chest. The tubes prevented infection from building up in my chest by allowing the fluids to drain into a little rubber bulb connected at the end of each tube. The tubes are fairly uncomfortable but necessary.

I was feeling good -- waiting to start chemo after New Year's -- ready to celebrate the holidays. But I felt very alone. Even with 29 nieces and nephews and seven siblings, I still felt alone. I felt as if I was the only person in the world dealing with breast cancer over Christmas. I knew there were more big changes in the near future, but I certainly couldn't be the only person experiencing the lonliness and isolation that cancer places on you.

I was watching a movie on TCM -- my daily escape during treatment -- when my doorbell rang. I didn't recognize the women at the door, so I cautiously asked who they were. The two friendly women said, "We are volunteers with the American Cancer Society. We have something for you, Dolores."

I opened the door to allow the blowing snow and blustery cold winds in behind them. They said, "We volunteer every year to bring newly diagnosed women a red rose and Poinsettas for Christmas."

I wasn't alone!!! My face immediately hurt from smiling so hard and wide.

The younger woman with a genuine smile was accompanied by her older twin, her mother. The daughter said, " My mom was diagnosed a few years ago, and the ACS made the same delivery to her. I know how much it meant to her, and I wanted to continue the service."

All three of us bonded over our common enemy, cancer, but we all saw the good in the people around us when one of us is facing adversity.

I will always remember that as the best Christmas gift I ever received.

My Pink Planner's Tips When Seeing the Doctor Tue, 02 Dec 2008 18:05:21 -0700 After you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you run the gamut of doctor's visits, lots of tests, and test results. You see a surgeon, an oncologist, a radiation oncologist, and possibly a plastic surgeon. We all know that the doctors have a lot to tell you, but that you may be on information-overload during the visit. Here are a few tips that worked for me and a few other survivors:

1. Take a second person (in addition to your spouse) to help you take notes while the doctor is speaking.

2. Take a 3-ringed notebook with visit notes to every doctor's appointment.

3. Write down a list of questions you have for the doctor. You don't want to forget them once you're in his/her office.

4. Ask the doctor to give you a personal copy of all your test results, and keep them in a binder.

5. Store your doctor's phone numbers in your cell phone/Blackberry so you don't have to hunt for them when you need them.

These tips help you feel more in control of your healthcare.

My Pink Planner: A Reassuring Visit Fri, 28 Nov 2008 10:16:23 -0700 I recently underwent annual testing for my check-up with my oncologist, Dr. Fabian. You may have read about it in my earlier blog. It was a harrowing experience. I felt like a wimp detailing everything from a near claustrophobic meltdown to sheer panic when the radiology technician said the radiologist wanted to look further at a "spot" on my rib. I apologize for not being stronger, but it was real fear.The drama was all for naught since my CT-Scan was clear.

So why I am talking about this? Because on Wednesday I followed up with Dr. Fabian who confirmed that my tests were okay and that she would be seeing me every 6 months not 3 months! That means that I am nearing the magical 5-year survivor mark. I will still be concerned every time I visit Dr. Fabian, but this annual testing made me realize that I will always be a survivor. As a survivor, I need to be positive that I will remain healthy and conquer cancer for myself, my family and my sister survivors! I have so much to be thankful for!

Decrease in New Cancer Continues Wed, 26 Nov 2008 05:16:54 -0700 According to a report by the National Cancer Institute, the number of new cases of cancer has dropped an average of 0.8% a year during the years of 1999-2005. The number of lives claimed by cancer has also declined 1.8% a year from 2002-2005. Scientists attribute the good news to a reduction in death rates in common types of cancer like breast cancer, lung cancer in men, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer to better treatment, a reduction in risk factors and better screening.

As survivors, we know that no one factor alone decreases therate of deaths due to cancer. You cannot have better treatment without better screening and detection. I can attest to the fact that monthly breast checks --okay I sometimes missed some months-- saved my life. My cancer was aggressive and fast-growing. But without aggressive chemotherapy and radiation, the early detection wouldn't have mattered as much.

What times we live in! A time when women are no longer closeted for having breast cancer. When having breast cancer is associated with the word "cure! "When living decades after initial diagnosis is very common!

Wow! I have a lot to be thankful for!

My Pink Planner Thanks Volunteers! Mon, 24 Nov 2008 06:35:55 -0700 All too often, I feature news about survivors becauseI created My Pink Planner to help connect survivors with people who want to help them. The other part of the equation is the volunteer.

I could not have made it through treatment without my network of volunteers. People I had never met were making my family meals. Friends were cleaning my house. Relatives were taking me to treatment. And Johnnie's friends parents were picking him up from the babysitter.

In honor of the upcoming holiday, I would like to publicly thank all the volunteers who helped make me a healthier survivor. Here is the list of my My Pink Planner volunteers:

John Michael, Vicki, Caroline, Eileen, Maureen, Clare, Paula, Diane, Cadie, Denise, April, Genapher, Mary Alice, Jenni, Mary G., Mrs. Kitchin, Barbi, Terrie, Cathy G., Nancy, Michele, Cathy S., Jo, Vong, Estella, Susan, Amy, Pam, Lisa R., Susan and Stacey, Sherri, Lisa T., Tony, Dad, Mom, Kathy, Brian, Nicole, and Jim.

I also wish to thank my husbands' co-workers, the Chinese restaurants' delivery man, the drive-thru workers at McDonald's for telling me I looked good bald, and the survivors who would stop me to give me encouragement when my hair was growing out. Thank you!

What? It's flu season?! Thu, 20 Nov 2008 17:24:06 -0700 Yes, it's flu season again. My Pink Planner runs through some of my personal flu-prevention tips.

  1. Wash your hand regularly.
  2. Avoid kissing or hugging relatives who might be sick.
  3. Eat foods high in anti-oxidants.
  4. Get plenty of sleep.
  5. Don't push yourself to meet every single invitation or party.
  6. Did I mention wash your hands?!
  7. Stay healthy and have the happiest of Thankgiving holidays!

Thank you!

Dolores, John and Johnnie

A New Survivor Network at My Pink Planner Tue, 18 Nov 2008 19:14:24 -0700 I spoke tonight with the friend of a woman who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She was trying to help her friend organize her volunteer network, and had some questions about setting it up. I was trouble-shooting an issue when it occurred to me that no matter what problem we encounter that My Pink Planner was WORKING! I don't mean it was working technologically. I mean the internet was truly connecting people to support a breast cancer survivor when she needs help the most.

I'm not trying to pat myself on the back. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not like that. I was just so charged that this woman understood the healing power of communication while you are seeking treatment is really the best medicine. Whether she is connecting with friends or other survivors, the impact of the human touch can be felt digitally!!

My Pink

My Pink Planner's Annual Testing Experience Sat, 15 Nov 2008 09:36:06 -0700 Yesterday, I underwent the annual reminder that I had breast cancer -- the CT-scan and bone scan. Since I am a four-year survivor, I have become less anxious of the testing. I feel fortunate that we have the technology to detect cancer and drugs to cure our disease, but while the fear of recurrence dims it never totally leaves your mind.

But I had what I thought what was a good sign when I won $3 in the Missouri Lottery as i bought my morning caffeine. I know I am lucky to have discovered my cancer. I am lucky to have had such wonderful doctors and nurses. But the full day of testing would shake me to the core.

I first went to the lab for blood draws. No big deal. Denise, my nurse and friend, put in an IV line where later in the day the Imaging technicians would inject radioactive dye for the CT-scan. Denise is so great because I can never feel her needle sticks. Then I'm off to drink the yummy, chalky concoction that will make it possible to see my bones on the bone scan.

While I wait four hours for the chalky substance to take effect, I knock out the CT-scan. Again, no big deal. It's a quick look at my abdomen and chest.

Then I wait three hours in the cafeteria passing the time doing some work on my laptop and talking to some work friends on my cell phone.

The bone scan which is ordinarily easy made me incredibly claustrophobic. The plate of the machine was about 2 inches from my nose for 30 minutes. I closed my eyes and prayed the whole time. I promised God I would finish all the personal projects i have left undone for weeks. I promised Him I would have date nights with my husband and read more books with our son.

After the 30 minutes, the technician said the radiologist wanted to know if I had fractured my rib when I broke my ankle earlier this year. He saw something on my rib and wanted another look. The tech apologized because she didn't want to freak me out, but he really wanted a closer look at my ribs.

So, here's another 30 minutes under the plate. More prayers. More prayers.

After I left, I was dazed. i thought, this is going to be okay. Don't worry. But if it wasn't, the cancer would be in the bone. We can overcome it. I know we can, but I don't want to go through it again. But my tumor had been close to my chest wall. There is always a possible stray cell that could have metasticized to the bone, but please, God, don't let it be true.

I called Diann, my doctor's nurse, and left a message telling her I did not want to wait the weekend not knowing the outcome of my test. She kindly called back within 2 hours saying my tests were clear and not to worry.

I am not trying to be morose or pessimistic, but every test is a battle of the mind and will. You can overcome the fear with the help of God and the people he places around you.

Election Victory for Cancer Patients Wed, 05 Nov 2008 19:24:11 -0700 Last night, voters in Johnson County, Kansas, approved an eighth-cent sales tax to help fight cancer.The university-backed initiative known as the Johnson County Education Research Triangle would help establish the Kansas City area as a top 20 bioscience research hub. The tax should generate $15 million dollars a year and will not expire. The tax will allow the KU Cancer Center to conduct more cutting-edge clinical trials and more cancer treatment options.

For those of us who are patients at KU, we are grateful for their incredibly skilled researchers and professional staff there. The Cancer Center will split the revenue equally with an educational and food-safety entity.

My Pink Planner's New Look at Awareness Thu, 23 Oct 2008 05:15:03 -0700 Rose, Photo by Vong Hamilton

While on a business trip to New York City this week, I couldn't walk into an office building, hotel or restaurant without seeing employees rallying to raise money to fund breast cancer research. But fundraisers and advertising are taking a different theme. They are all working to make breast cancer "a thing of the past." Thanks to foundationsand organizations like the Komen Foundation which hasfunded breast cancer research and raising awareness for early detection, many of us are walking around today. The breast cancer movement has come so far!

Tina Herold: Her Wigged-Out My Pink Planner Survivor Story Thu, 16 Oct 2008 03:59:19 -0700 Tina Herald, courtesy Why Pink

A tear rolled down my face as I looked around the wig shop. The woman working in the shop was cold and indifferent to my presence. She was not helping me and I knew nothing about wigs. What should I be looking for? Could it and would it look real? Would it stay on my head? Would I look like there was a dead animal on my head? I needed help! How could she be indifferent when all I wanted to do was scream until I woke up from this nightmare? Was this really happening? Was I having a bad dream?

The reality was that this was no dream, and I needed help buying a wig. I was going to be bald in just a few weeks. BALD!!! The thought was just too much. I was 34 years old and had been diagnosed with breast cancer. This really couldn't be my life. I had no family history or risk factors for cancer. I didn't even do self-breast exams because I was falsely under the impression that you had to have a family history of breast cancer to be at risk. I also believed in the myth that young women don't get breast cancer. Well, young women can and do get breast cancer! I was one of them. I had always prided myself on eating healthy, not smoking or drinking, and watching my weight. Yet there I was with CANCER! Cancer happened to other people, not me…please not me.

My husband Scott and children were with me and my husband encouraged me to try on a few of the wigs. He was so positive and supportive. I tried three wigs and none of them looked authentic or felt like me. I began to cry. We left and still crying, I got into the car. I told my husband I couldn't do any of this. "I won't do the chemotherapy," I informed him. We had another wig shop to visit, and Scott assured me the next one would be better. We would figure this out.

The next wig shop I visited was worse. The woman didn't even get off of her chair when I asked if she had some wig books or color samples. I felt as though I couldn't breathe. This isn't nice, but I couldn't help but think, "Would this woman be so heartless if this was happening to her, her mother, her sister or best friend?" Could she not see the great fear on my face? Could she not see a mother just wanting to live to see her children grown? Why didn't cancer survivors own these wig shops?

I was diagnosed October 4, 2006, and I am now two years past my diagnosis. I am doing great and I actually believe that breast cancer is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I am a better wife, mother, daughter and friend. I have a heart for anyone going through difficulties in his or her life. I believe I am now who I was supposed to be all along. I laugh with such joy, I look at my family with intense love, and I value every single moment. Life's other little curve balls do not even faze me.

As the saying goes, I have decided to make lemonade out of my lemons. I am opening my own wig shop. I don't want any woman going through a similar experience as when I needed a wig (We did finally have success at the third wig shop.) I want women to walk into my shop and see pictures of me on the wall bald, with my bandanas, and with my wigs. I want others to know I have been right where they are. I want them to walk out feeling beautiful and confident. I want to empower other women to fight their cancer and win -- while looking stunning in a great wig!

I recently met Tina at a Young Breast Cancer Survivor function. Her exhuberance is infectious! My Pink Planner congratulates her for insight into finding a creative way to help survivors.

Shopping for the Cure: A True Survivor Movement Mon, 13 Oct 2008 19:48:36 -0700 Back in the Swing logo

"You have cancer."

Those are the words everyone dreads to hear, but for one local survivor, those words inspired a movement in breast cancer treatment. That survivor is Barbara Unell. She had the insight and fortitude to rally for improved cancer treatment after all the chemo is finished, the radiation lethargy has disappeared and the immediate health crisis has subsided.

Barbara was frustrated after her treatment when she was left to learn how to regain her health all alone. As a result, this local survivor has funded the University of Kansas Cancer Center Survivor Clinic, won awards for her advocacy, and launched her own health movement.

This week marks the fundraising event Unell launched--"Back in the Swing" -- a week-long event where shoppers buy a card for $25 that gives them discounts at area stores. The cost of the cards and retailers' donate their percentage to fund after-cancer treatment for survivors here in Kansas City.

It's not too late to buy your card. To purchase your card online, visit

Thank you, Barbara, for your dedication to better health!

If you would like to read other My Pink Planner blogs about Back to the Swing, visit read other news stories about Barbara Unell, visit

Laura Walsh Plunkett: Being a Breast Cancer Survivor, Part Two, on My Pink Planner Thu, 09 Oct 2008 07:30:20 -0700 Hawaii, courtesy Vong Hamilton

Now, almost four years after diagnosis, my definition of “survivor’ is still evolving. I do a better job of embracing the sisterhood of survivors. Because I am stage 4, people often think that I will be really sickly before they meet me. I am naturally petite so they also think that my being “thin” is due to the cancer. I used to feel the pressure to look good and feel good in these situations. But I am still maturing in this regard. I now know my role may be to spread the message of hope in these situations, not to look perfect or be perfect. I am a part of a larger sisterhood. So many survivors before me paved the way so that I could live. I wanted to play my part as a survivor, too.

Being a survivor has changed my expectations of daily living. I know I live an extraordinary life, but I also know that we all can. I plan on training for many charitable athletic events in 2009 because it reminds me of whom I am on an individual level. I am competing against cancer and I plan to win. I also appreciate that I am an eccentric writer and breast cancer advocate. I don’t try to pretend I am not these things anymore; I just try to be the most authentic version of myself. I spend more tender moments with my daughter, Morgan, and my son, Jack. Cancer also helps me appreciate the real trouper in the family, my husband, Michael…who never wavers in his support of me or in his belief in me.

When I get discouraged, I ask him if I am going to be okay and he gently reminds me that I am already okay. Right here and right now. He is right. In my mind, I want to be the type of survivor who encourages others to face their disease head-on and know that they are okay.

My ultimate goal is to keep this definition of “survivor” evolving so that I constantly become a more beautiful version of the butterfly. I am not there yet, but I am trying. I didn’t want to wear the pink, at first, or even be associated with this disease. Yet, that was not my choice. The only choice I have is to make a difference in how I accept myself as a survivor and, in turn, strengthen the sisterhood of other survivors. So that is what I will do.

To read other entries about Laura Walsh Plunkett, visit

My Pink Planner's Survivor Blogger Laura Walsh Plunkett: Being a Breast Cancer Survivor Tue, 07 Oct 2008 04:20:03 -0700 Laura Plunkett, second from left, poses with her daughter, Morgan, left, son, Jack, and her husband, Michael

Being a breast cancer survivor means so many things to me. As I grow through my acceptance of the disease, so does the meaning of the term “survivor”. When I was first diagnosed at stage 2, I must admit that I hit warrior mode. I was pragmatic and swift at decisions. My husband and I not only led our medical team, but we were thoughtful in our research as well as the selection of our doctors.

This was because I was only 32 with no family history and no known risks. I had otherwise been a “healthy” person before this diagnosis. I did not think of myself as a “survivor”, just someone who was dealing with cancer for a year. I thought I would be able to slough cancer off my body like a pair of a dirty jeans, that maybe I could just wash the jeans with surgery and chemotherapy and begin life anew. I approached the situation aggressively and thoroughly so I could achieve this goal.

Then the confirmation of a spot on my liver, moved me into Stage 4 status. This is really when I began to contemplate the meaning of being a “survivor”. I was beginning to dig deeper to accept my condition on an emotional level. I was starting to understand the value of other survivors in my life. The realization that I would never be considered “cured” was heartbreaking, at first. I began to wonder how I had gotten myself into this condition. I then remembered it was no one’s fault, especially not mine. Cancer just happens.

Through all of this turmoil, a better version of me was starting to emerge from the cocoon. This butterfly was getting her wings and starting to understand the relevance of empathy to others. I was awkward in my approach, but I was starting to come alive. I was acknowledging the importance of my emotional reactions in the grand scheme of the sisterhood of survivors. If I was feeling certain emotions, weren’t other women having these same reactions? I wanted to make sure that I got back to basics, to the importance of living in the day and loving those around me. I took up writing again, a long ago passion that I had put aside. I wanted to share with others, felt compelled to do nothing else professionally but help other survivors.

Getting back to basics also meant remembering that I had always been an athlete. I took up cycling to help me feel strong and keep pace physically with my mental competition against cancer. Cancer interrupted my training for the MS150, but did not diminish my resolve to compete in the ride. I was riding for someone else’s disease and that mattered to me now more than ever. I was starting to understand the relevance of being empathetic to other people’s situations. I wanted to better accept others and heal myself in the process.

Visit My Pink Planner this week for part two of Laura's "Survivor Story."

My Pink Planner Guest BloggerJanette Slusher's New To-Do List for Life Fri, 03 Oct 2008 04:23:10 -0700 Crocus, courtesy Vong Hamilton

This blog entry is part two of Janette Slusher's survivor story.

As you know, one does not go through cancer in their life and not be changed forever.I have always tried tolook for the positive in everything I do in life, and thishas just given that spirit a new twist. I am so amazed in the amount of goodness and generosity that people have shown of themselves to me and our family. Because of that, it has inspired me to be a better, more giving and compassionate person, to be a positive role model for my children and those around me, and refuse to let myself be down and feel sorry for myself, no matter what the circumstances are. Sometimes you can't always control things that happen to you, but we CAN control how we handle those circumstances. That being said, I would love to share with you the ways that I feel my circumstances have had a positive impact on my life. Here is my new "to do" list for life:

1. I will never again judge another woman's decision to have fake breasts put in her body - for like me, her real ones may have tried to kill her, too.

2. I will go to London with my big sister, JoJo.

3. I will embrace my renewed jogging hobby, and will push through the pain by visualizing that each step represents another day added to my life that I get to spend with my children.

4. I will drop everything, run, and wrap my arms around a friend, if one of them ever calls me and says "I have cancer".

5. I will cherish the moments with my daughters, when they call me into their rooms at night for the 8th time in a row for reasons that seem sort of silly.

6. I will make time for date night with my husband at least once a month.

7. I will remind others, in their time of need, what a precious gift it is to others, when they allow us to help them.

8. I will try my hardest to overlook crumbs on the floor (I'm just lucky I have a dog now who can lick them up), door dings, french fries in between the seats, chocolate stains on a white shirt, hail damage on my car, unmade beds, piles of laundry or mail, or movies returned late - because really, it JUST DOESN'T MATTER!

9. I will not be afraid to pray, and will never underestimate it's power, because sometimes He is the only one who is awake to talk to at 3:00 a.m. when I can't sleep.

10. I will never give up hope that someday, my children will live in a world w/out breast cancer and chemotherapy.

11. I will learn to tap dance.

12. I will do a better job of remembering my friend's birthdays and reminding them what a joy it is to have them in my life.

13. I will read more books.

14. I will get down on the floor and play games with my children when they ask me, because it's really more important than checking e-mails.

15. I will someday own a piano so that my children can learn to play something more than chopsticks and I can play "Miniature Concerto" from memory again.

16. I will teach myself to thrive in the face of chaos, and know that life's most precious possibilities and outcomes emerge from the bleakest of circumstances.

17. I will ask myself, "Am I spending my time on the right things?" because time is all we have and it is so precious.

18. I will focus on doing the important things adequately instead of everything perfectly.

19. I willwrite my daily to-do lists on an index card instead of a legal pad, and make sure at least one item is something fun for myself.

20. I will teach my children to laugh at themselves in the face of adversity or an embarrassing situation, because sometimes a sense of humor is the ultimate solution.

21. I will be a better parent by practicing patience, a calm voice, empathy and kindness - because that's the kind of people I want my kids to grow up to be.

22. I will not argue with my 6-yr-old when she wants to wear a costume out to dinner, because seriously, what better way to make a memory!

23. I will tell my husband that Ilove him, that I am so lucky I have had him beside me throughout this journey.

Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts about being a survivor! I hope there are some words in there that can hopefully inspire other people who may need a "boost"!

Janette Slusher: My Pink Planner Survivor Story Wed, 01 Oct 2008 04:08:42 -0700 Janette Slusher and her daughters

My Pink Planner asked survivors to send in their survivor stories. Soon after our request, Janette Slusher sent me part one of her submission.

I have learned that there is a common thread inanyone I meet who has been faced with breast cancer - the ones who are plucked out of the crowd to have to deal with this disease all seem to be positive, upbeat people with a"fighter" spirit. They are the kind of women who arenot afraid to share their story and to do their part to help spread the word about the importance of early detection, mammograms, and ultimately, a new passion in support ofbreast cancer research in the many avenues that are out there to do so.

I know that for me, my fighting spirit kicked into high gear early on, particularly because of my 3 beautiful daughters - ages 12, 10 and 6. With all respect to the rest of my family, friends and support network, I have to say that these three little darlings are my TRUE motivation to get well, stay well and do it with my head held high, and with a sense of humor. It is heart breaking to think of them in a world without their mom, and that is honestly, what gives me the outlook and determination to be around for many, many years to come.

Early in my journey, another survivor who was there for me with kind words of motivation told me that she would not have changed or taken away her breast cancer experience for anything. At the time, I didn't get it, and I couldn't imagine ever getting to the point where I would also feel that way. Although I would never wish this on anyone or even on I to have to go through this again, I sort of now get what she means. By going through breast cancer and all the ancillary things that go along with it, I've been blessed to meet and know some of the most amazing people with the most beautiful outlooks on life, with the determination toappreciate each day and never take anything for granted. My hope is that I can take a little piece of each of them to shape who I want to become. I would never have had the pleasure of knowing many of these people without this journey. So for that, I am so grateful because I have learned SO much from them.

To read part two of Janette's story, visit later this week.

Young Survivor Wins Prestigious Award! Tue, 23 Sep 2008 18:49:58 -0700 YSC logo

At the annual Young Survivor Coalition's 2008 Inaugural Event in Overland Park, Kansas, Laura Plunkett not only won a coveted award but also everyone's hearts.The petite mother of two is not only fighting the battle of her life but has picked up a new interest along the way. Laura was diagosed with stage 2 breast cancer soon after the birth of her second child. Since then her disease was upgraded to stage 4, and she has endured a battery of surgeries, biopsies and ten months of chemotherapy. Through it all, Laura became interested in cycling and began training for a two-day 150-mile bike ride to benefit those stricken with multiple sclerosis. What a survivor! Look for Laura in the October 2008 issue of Redbook.

Back in the Swing! Wed, 17 Sep 2008 19:50:54 -0700 BITS Logo

In the coming weeks, you will hear everything in survivor news from one survivor's look back at her cancer experience to survivors who make a difference in our lives.Today, I want you to meet Barbara Unell. She is a community activist and breast cancer survivor pioneer. Barbara, a breast cancer survivor herself, saw the need for services for women dealing with the after-effects of chemotherapy and radiation.

As a result, she founded "Back in the Swing," a one-week shopping event where for a small fee, a card-holder would receive 20% off purchases at a long list of quality stores. Thus the term "Retail Therapy" was born. This year's "Back in the Swing" event takes place October 13-19 in shops around the city. If you would like to purchase your own card, visit 100% of the cost of the card supports breast cancer survivorship programs and research.

Thank you, Barbara, for your drive and support for health issues we all face.

Celebrities Raise $100 Million for Cancer Research! Mon, 08 Sep 2008 18:33:25 -0700 Sheryl Crowe, courtesy AP

According to ABC News, celebrities gathered to raise $100 million during a telethon airing simultaneously on three television networks. Stars such as cancer survivors Sheryl Crowe and Christina Applegate lent their support to the event called "Stand Up to Cancer!"

Christina Applegate

Toughing Out Cancer! Sun, 07 Sep 2008 11:01:46 -0700 Lance Armstong, courtesy Daily Dish

A group of celebrities hosted a historical telethon,"Stand Up to Cancer," which united three major television networks to raise money to fight cancer.

Cancer survivors Lance Armstrong, Christina Applegate, Sheryl Crowe and Patrick Swayze each made pleas to ask viewers for contributions. My Pink Planner commends these outstanding fighters for their efforts!

Patrick Swayze

What’s Your Survivor Story? Sat, 06 Sep 2008 18:31:10 -0700 courtesy Vong Hamilton

With Breast Cancer Awareness Month only a few weeks away, I would like to honor the survivor in your life.We all know someone whose life has been touched by cancer – a sister, mother, aunt or friend. For me, it was a friend who was diagnosed at a young age. She was a dancer; beautiful and poised. She was there the day after I was diagnosed. She endured long phone calls and hundreds of questions about doctors, surgery, treatment and life after treatment. She epitomized what I imagined a survivor to be. She was courageous, stubborn, humorous and generous. Today, that friend is a double-digit survivor! I would like to salute her and the other women whose support I could not do without. With that in mind, I am posting a photo of myself soon after treatment. My friend told me how beautiful I looked, and helped me change my self-image as my hair returned. She helped me visualize what being a true survivor truly is. If you would like me to post a story about the survivor in your life, e-mail her story and a photo to Photo courtesy Vong Hamilton

Christina Applegate's Mastectomies Wed, 20 Aug 2008 16:28:44 -0700 Christina Applegate

According to Good Morning America, actress Christina Applegate, star of "Samantha, Who?" recently diagnosed with breast cancer, goes with a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery as her survival plan. Applegate, who tested positive for the breast cancer gene, chose the drastic surgery based on her family history and genetic tests. The actress had two lumpectomies weeks ago, and one lump was cancerous.She has declared herself cancer-free. My Pink Planner supports any decision a survivor makes. Her health is her choice. Every treatment plan is as varied as the woman choosing it. My Pink Planner does not offer medical advice nor does it judge a survivor's treatment plan. We are here to support survivors in any way we can.

Shopping for a Cause! Tue, 19 Aug 2008 19:49:40 -0700 "Back in the Swing Retail Therapy" is my kind of shopping therapy -- especially when it involves shopping for a cause! "Back in the Swing" is a week-long event that occurs every October when retailers give BINS cardholders 20% off their goods or services. How do you become a cardholder you might ask? Easy! Visit and purchase your card online. Or make a real difference by starting your own "Back in the Swing Retail Therapy" Team, and get 5 people to commit to selling 10 cards each.You might ask yourself, "how does my shopping cheap help breast cancer research?" 100% of the cost of the card goes to local programs and research to help breast cancer survivors live full lives after treatment.

Race for the Cure: A Time to Celebrate! Thu, 07 Aug 2008 20:33:07 -0700 Yes, I said celebrate! I have attended three races since I was diagnosed. I never joined the race before that because I didn't think cancer would ever happen to me. I also thought the race would be very sad and depressing, but it was anything but that. In the years my family has run in the Race for the Cure, I immediately recognized that survivors received a t-shirt distinguishing them from other walkers. I felt special. More importantly, it was the special shirts that made me start asking other survivors I passed how many years they had been cancer-free. I remember the answers from many of the women as I huffed and puffed past them. Seventeen years. Twenty-six years.Eight years. From that point on, I realized how these strong pioneers had really put cancer behind them except for this one day a year - their day to celebrate. And all of these women had the same determined look on their face -- as if they were saying, "Hi, Race, we'll see you next year."

The Race for the Cure in Kansas City is this Sunday, and starts at Union Station.

My Pink Planner wishes Christina Applegate well receives treatment for breast cancer. Mon, 04 Aug 2008 10:04:53 -0700 Actress Christina Applegate

According to the Associated Press, actress Christina Applegate, star of television comedy,"Samantha...Who?," is receiving treatment for an early form of breast cancer.The news service reports her cancer was detected through an MRI. As survivors, we can all understand how emotional this time is as you sift through information and treatment options. I cannot imagine the pressure from the glare of the media spotlight that she must also contend with. My Pink Planner wishes her well during her journey to healing.

My Pink Planner keeps Christina Applegate in our thoughts! Sun, 03 Aug 2008 13:09:28 -0700 Christina Applegate Reuters News confirms that actress Christina Applegate, known for her role as "Kelly Bundy" on the sitcom "Married...With Children," has been diagnosed with breast cancer. An MRI confirmed the diagnosis. We all know that this is a difficult and confusing time for newly diagnosed survivors, and only wish her the best in the coming months.

What is a Pink Carpet Event? Wed, 23 Jul 2008 07:11:14 -0700 You’re probably asking yourself “What is a Pink Carpet Event?” It’s any fundraising event that helps keep free to breast cancer survivors while they heal. The event can be a fashion show, cocktail party or spa party – anything that’s fun and helps build a social network.

Tom & Jerry Inc., a promotional company, is currently working on a massive campaign to host events across the country to benefit After the success of past events like the “Flaunt on the Pink Carpet” and “Allure” fashion shows, we are excited to work with Tom & Jerry Inc. as they bring in national sponsors! *** Shameless Plug Alert *** I would like to thank the following companies for their support so far. Thank you to Vitamin A Swimwear, Laurie Solet, Paper Doll Boutique, The Laura Rosenhaur Collection, Bentley-Maserati-Lamborghini, Pearl Vodka, Diggit Graphics and My Secret Garden.

Flaunt your Pink on the Pink Carpet! Wed, 16 Jul 2008 19:06:49 -0700 Pink lady

St. Louis, MO -- Fashion and fun all for a fabulous cause! kicks off its first Pink Carpet Event© at Lush, a new multi-million dollar fine dining restaurant and nightclub, which is celebrating its first year of business with a series fashion shows to help breast cancer survivors. ’Flaunt on the Pink Carpet’ supports breast cancer survivors fighting the battle of their lives. We would like to thank sponsors such as Bentley-Maserati-Lamborghini-Ferrari Service of St. Louis, Adams Mark Hotel, Pearl Vodka, and many others. This fashion show highlighted the latest cocktail, loungewear, and lingerie fashions from Jule Lingerie and Laurie Solet in St. Louis. In the coming week, I will have more information and photos from more Pink Carpet Events. "Flaunt" is an event exclusively produced by Tom and Jerry, Inc.

My Pink Planner Hits the Airwaves! Thu, 03 Jul 2008 09:06:38 -0700
We all know how confusing it is when you are first diagnosed with breast cancer. At first, you're in shock.Shock is followed by denial --"I don't have time to have cancer. I have a family. I have a job. I have a life." You have to become an instant expert in cancer, cancer treatment and becoming healthy again. As My Pink Planner's friend KMBC-9 News Anchor Kelly Eckerman tells us, you must also make a plan. Click on the link to watch Kelly's story on My Pink Planner.

]]> Newest breast cancer research online conference on June 18th Thu, 12 Jun 2008 18:35:43 -0700 Here at My Pink Planner, I come across a lot of interesting information about cancer research.While I'm not a doctor nor do I ever impart medical advice, there is a online web conference where you can "Ask the Experts"about their latest findings.The web conference will cover the presentations given by the country's top researchers on such topics as new treatment combinations, breast cancer genetics, new screening methods, treatment-induced heart problems, and much more. What do the latest updates mean for you?You will hear from Generosa Grana, M.D., F.A.C.P. is associate professor of medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School andCarol Kaplan, M.D. is an assistant professor of clinical medicine in the Rena Rowan Breast Center at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.To join the conference on June 18th, go to any time between 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. EDT* and then click on the "Join Conference" button. It's easy to participate; no special software is required. The live conference will appear in text on your screen. A transcript of the conference will be posted on the site by June 25.

]]> Gets a Makeover! Sun, 01 Jun 2008 19:52:13 -0700 got a facelift!This is an exciting time for me.My first goal was to make the site available to anyone who needed it. I am grateful that it has helped so many people, but I also want survivors to visit here and feel more at home. is their circle of friends with whom they can talk to at anytime.As always, I welcome your comments, suggestions on how to make better.Thank you for your support!

My Pink Planner and the Bloch Cancer Survivor Rally Sun, 01 Jun 2008 19:32:26 -0700

MPP Booth at Survivor Rally 08

The Bloch Cancer Hotline invited to have a table at their annual survivor rally a few months ago. I would like to thank Roseanne Wickham and her staff of volunteers for their support, and invitation to such an inspiring event. Roseanne is so wonderful that she has recruited me as a volunteer as well.

KMBC-9 News anchor Larry Moore kicked-off the event with NBC Action News Meteorologist Gary Lezak which honored Barbara Unell, the founder of Back In The Swing, for her work raising awareness and funding for breast cancer research. I had a wonderful time meeting many new friends and especially old friends of My Pink Planner. Thank you to all of the survivors who have preceeded us, and made our survivor journeys possible.

March 3, 2008 Mon, 03 Mar 2008 10:34:01 -0700
People tell me I am a survivor. But I do not feel like one.I didn’t have breast cancer. I didn’t ; through chemotherapy. I didn’t have radiation. Yet, cancer changed my family forever. I was fourteen when my mother died at the age of 39, after battling cancer for four years. Her mother also had breast cancer. It looked as though cancer was ;ing to be our family legacy. My three sisters and I started having annual mammograms in our early 20's. Many times throughout the years doctors would say we need to be diligent in our breast exams as it was likely at least one of us would end up with cancer. Our world was rocked yet another time when my oldest sister was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. This news made us relive our mothers' battle with cancer all over again. The fear mixed with the reality of the situation was enough for me to research my options. I was a living time-bomb, so I became a member of a local cancer study. The study looked at siblings and family members with a strong history of breast cancer. While I was in the study I had discussed the possibility of having a prophylactic (preventive) mastectomy. After witnessing my mom and sister's battle this disease I decided I did not want to wait my turn for cancer to change my life. I was a single mother with a young son and wanted to do whatever I could to make sure I was able to watch him grow up. I did my research visiting websites, talking to my doctors, cancer survivors and other prophylactic mastectomy patients. My final decision was made after I went for a follow-up breast cancer study visit and was told there was a spot on my mammogram that was not there before and would need a biopsy. For all of you that have had cancer or have watched someone really close to you battle cancer then you can understand the pure fear I felt at that moment. Many people questioned my decision and felt it was a drastic step to take. My sister, the breast cancer survivor, said it best, "No one can understand unless they have lived it!!" I’m not saying I couldn’t still get breast cancer, but having my breasts removed has improved my chances dramatically. I have no regrets and would do it all again.Here’s to the women who were part of any breast cancer research, and made it possible for my sisters and me to remain healthy.]]>
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