Today, I am writing for a few reasons. All of them centered around the horrible, evil disease that has affected many of our lives, CANCER. It’s a word that many of us hope we will never have to hear, but let’s face it, not one of us hasn’t been affected by this disease.  Maybe, you personally have or maybe a loved one, family member or dear friend? Cancer has affected my immediate family all too much!  We lost my father-in-law to the disease 8 years ago, all of us were around his bedside watching him take his last breath, it’s something I will never forget. We all miss him dearly and know he is watching and protecting us from up above. In addition to my father-in-law, many other members of my family, aunts, cousins, etc. have had personal battles with the disease.  This year, my little cousin Michelle, at the age of 27, was diagnosed with a very rare form of Sarcoma Cancer. It started with some back pain she couldn’t take any longer, which brought her to the hospital for x-rays only to discover a mass in her kidney.  She was initially diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer and was scheduled for surgery right away to have her kidney and the cancerous tissue out. This was just the beginning of the roller coaster for her. Once her kidney was removed she experienced a number of complications which resulted in a 20+ day hospital stay until she was strong enough to go home. In the meantime, pathology reports came back inconclusive from her kidney that was removed. Therefore, the form/type of kidney cancer could not be diagnosed. Everything was sent out for another review which finally came back as a rare form of Sarcoma Cancer, so the outcome was much different. Not much is known of this type of cancer, therefore Michelle and her husband John traveled to Boston and New York to meet with a few teams of doctors who have seen her case before. They helped them figure out what treatment needed to be done and more about her situation. Overall, these doctors came back with a much more positive prognosis. Although, we are still awaiting a final report from NY, a recent scan revealed she is cancer free! While we know recurrence is always possible, she has moved past this and is now living the life any normal 27 year old should! Enjoying her new home and spending time healing with her beautiful little family, hubby John, Emma, their daughter and their new little doggie, Lily.

We’ve set up a fund to help Michelle & John with some of the medical bills they’ve incurred and also for the future bills they may be faced with as they fight this disease. Every little bit counts! Please visit the website below if you’d like to make a donation today.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as all of us know. So I’ve saved this time to blog about my cousin and also touch on breast cancer awareness. While we are all aware of breast cancer and how REAL it is, many of us busy women forget to take care of ourselves sometimes. I’m guilty of this all the time! BUT I have had, not 1, but 2 scares with breast cancer. My first scare was in my early twenties, and my second was very recently. This past spring, I discovered a lump that was unusual so I called my doctor and had a clinical exam and my first mammogram at 33. While the results came back negative, the whole thing was very unnerving for me. We all want to believe we are invincible but really we aren’t. This disease is affecting many women, young women! Moms like me and you who have small children, husbands, families, jobs and dreams too! So I encourage you to make an action plan to detect this early or prevent this disease.  The first steps are:

1. Perform your monthly breast exams.

2. Schedule your annual clinical exams.

3. Schedule your mammograms when you need to. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.,

  • Women 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 or 2 years.
  • Women who are younger than 40 and have risk factors for breast cancer should ask their healthcare professional whether mammograms are advisable and how often to have them.

4. Lead a healthy lifestyle including, healthy eating habits, maintaining a healthy weight and being active.

Lastly, but not least. I want to tell you about a fabulous new company I’ve discovered from the same cousin Michelle I spoke about earlier. Expression Rings of Hope, was founded in May 2010 by Holly Freese after she lost a close friend to Stage 4 Kidney cancer, at the very young age of 29. Shocked, much like myself, when Michelle was diagnosed, she wanted to do something in his honor and to give back. So, she started making rings, beautiful rings, all by hand using only the finest Swarovski Crystals. The intention of these rings is to symbolize HOPE  for women who are fighting cancer, have beat it, or need a little inspiration in their lives. A portion of every sale is donated to various Cancer Research Foundations and her motto is Bling For A Cause! Check out the website to read more about Holly, the company and it’s tremendous growth, and get your Bling For A Cause today too!

Expression Rings of Hope also created this awesome commercial too. My little cousin Michelle just so happens to be in it.  Please check it out and vote for it every day until October 13th. Let’s help Expression Rings of Hope get to the finals and receive a Super Bowl commercial. Only a few more days left to vote!

In an effort to support cancer research, Too Chic & Little Shab Design Studio, Inc. will offer 10% off all orders placed on the website for rest of the month.  Just enter CANCERRESEARCH during checkout.  All customer savings will be donated.

Thanks for visiting and listening today.