STAGE OF LIFE       Share Your Story       Coupons       Education Resources
Sign Up Now!

Scar: My Survivor Badge



Joined: 10/4/2014
Posts: 1
LittleLoie
Scar: My Survivor Badge
It’s not pretty, even with recent scar revision by an excellent plastic surgeon. But it’s my daily reminder that I survived my battle with breast cancer 13 years ago. Other tokens strike me occasionally—partial toenails (a souvenir of a particularly virulent chemo drug), an irregular cardiac rhythm, a still-challenged immune system. But my big, beautiful seven-inch chest scar greets me as I slip my prosthesis over it every day. In the shower, I lovingly lather the folded, still-lumpy skin.

My scar reveals my vulnerability. I was a 54-year-old, vibrant, active, working woman who followed a healthy diet, exercised regularly, and never missed a yearly mammogram or GYN exam. Apparently, following the rules for good health does not preclude you from dealing with the horrors of a three-centimeter tumor nestled way back against your chest wall.

An excellent ultrasonographer and radiologist combined intellect and skill at their craft to investigate what my GYN doc saw as a problem at 12 o’clock on the circle that was my right breast. That shadow proved benign, but a little bugger at 6 o’clock was problematic.

A small biopsy scar previewed the body trauma to come. That puny mark was laughable, but disappeared with my right breast a month later. My decision for a disfiguring mastectomy rather than a lumpectomy was well thought out. I had been a research editor for a leading health magazine and knew the score. I wanted nothing but a full-on assault on my cancer, including the toughest chemotherapy available. And that’s what I got.

My drive-through surgery entailed less than a 24-hour stay in the hospital, including a brief detour to the Cardiac wing. My blood pressure had plummeted to dangerous levels post-op and I lost consciousness. Two inept technicians were no help; but my daughter and sister—both health care professionals—saved the day (and me!) by leaping into action.

Safely home the next morning with dangling chest drains and big, bulky bandages, I began the slow road to recovery. But it was not a smooth highway. During my follow up visit to the surgeon he dropped a bomb . . . the axillary nodes he previously stated were negative proved otherwise. Final pathology showed two out of seven were positive. Back to the O.R. where he biopsied lymph nodes at the first and second levels under my arm, removing those that were positive. Another scar, another reminder of my cancer journey.

Internally or externally, cancer leaves its mark. Twinges from inward scars sometimes cause more pain than lumpy skin or tightness in the chest. I have thin hair, misshapen toenails, a cranky heart rhythm, and a shaky immune system. But I am a proud survivor with a tremendous support system, moving forward with my life. . . . not quite at warp speed, but with purpose and strength and thanks.

[email protected]
Lois Guarino Hazel
481 words
10/10/14
Rate this:
Comment by warren


Joined: 6/22/2011
Posts: 293
Congratulations to the winner! Thank you for writing.
Posted: Sunday, October 12, 2014 1:27:58 PM
Rate this:
Comment by Explorer


Joined: 9/16/2014
Posts: 33
Thank you for your courageous depiction of the battle so many women have to fight. Excellent piece of work.
Posted: Monday, October 13, 2014 3:19:34 PM
Rate this:
Comment by Silver Fox


Joined: 8/7/2013
Posts: 8
Congratulations on winning your battle against this terrible disease. You told your scar story in an honest, but upbeat fashion - despite the tremendous challenge you faced. Thank you for sharing your story. SF
Posted: Friday, October 17, 2014 9:24:41 PM
Rate this:
Comment by thiegsr


Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire StageofLife.com editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your Scar essay being selected as our first place Adult Essay for October 2014.

To view all the results of our October 2014 contest, please check our winners page on or after November 30th:
http://www.stageoflife.com/Writing_Contests/WritingContestWinners.aspx

We will be contacting you via your registration email with more information and prize details.

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment with the world.

Sincerely,
Rebecca Thiegs
StageofLife.com Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Sunday, November 23, 2014 4:33:30 PM
Rate this:
Comment by jenpen


Joined: 9/22/2014
Posts: 11
Congrats on winning the article and beating cancer!
Posted: Monday, December 1, 2014 2:38:28 PM
Rate this:

Baby Boomers (and older!) blog on StageofLife.comAbout Us StageofLife.com is a blogging community for "Empty Nesters" and those in (or near) retirement to share stories about the adventure of life in an online journal via their free Stage of Life account.  Read the blogs and stories from Baby Boomers (and older), or check out the writing contest for Baby Boomers, quotes about retirement, etiquette advice, videos about retirement, discounts for retirement, and other resources for those in the Empty Nest and Retirement stage of life.  Register to start your free profile, share an essay about your life experiences, and pass along your wisdom to help us change the world, one story at a time.  If you are a college professor, teacher or educator - review our literacy, blogging and writing resources.

Stage of Life Writing Contests

writing contests

Enter National Writing ContestWriting Contests

From 2010 to 2016, StageofLife.com ran a monthly, multi-generational writing contest.  With over 3,000,000 visitors and tens of thousands of participating students, teachers, parents, and bloggers involved over half a decade, StageofLife.com grew into the world's largest multi-generational writing community.

StageofLife.com writing contestsWhere is the Writing Contest Now?  As StageofLife.com grew into a global writing destination, the coordination of managing an international writing contest became too time intensive for the website's owners.  So starting on Sept. 4, 2016, StageofLife.com unfortunately had to end the writing contest portion of its services. 

However, we are now actively looking for new owners of StageofLife.com who may want to carry on the mission of helping to change the world, one story at a time.  If you know someone who may be interested in taking StageofLife.com to the next level, we can share details around the opportunity.  Please send an email to our owners if there's interest to acquire the website.

But in the meantime, there's still plenty to see and do here - just check out the various links and menus on the page.

Past Annual Writing Contest Results:  While the energy and time to carry on the StageofLife.com writing contest has come to a close, you can see summary reports and the winners from the monthly contests on our Writing Contest Winners page.  Tens of thousands of people have submitted essays over the last six years.  Our editorial team has been extremely grateful for all of the wonderful essays shared over the years - words and stories that have helped us change the world, one story at a time.


Sincerely,

--StageofLife.com owners Eric & Rebecca Thiegs and Joe & Lisa Thiegs


Bragging rights, international recognition, and gift card prizes were part of the fun for participants of the free writing contests on StageofLife.com.

Mentions for the Stage of Life teen writing contests, teen trend reports, etiquette Q&A, and teacher resources by...

Our writing contests mentioned by TIME.com
Our Teen Trend Report mentioned by MarketWatch Our etiquette resources mentioned by FOX Business Educator tips mentioned by Mashable

 

Each month over half a decade, Stage of Life hosted and judged writing contests for both students and adults.  We thank the below brands - our educational sponsors - who supplied gift cards as prizes for the winning essays as we helped the change the world through blogging, storytelling, and our literacy-based initiatives...

 Writing contest sponsor  Writing contest sponsor on StageofLife.com  Blogging contest prize sponsor Spa & Wellness gift cards by SpaWeek 


StageofLife.com writing contestsWhat made our writing contests different?

  • Stage of Life writing contests were always free to enter
  • Essays from our blogging and writing contests have been picked up by the media, e.g. TIME.com, and used by teachers as mentor texts across the globe
  • We wanted to hear your personal, authentic thoughts on real world topics each month.  We picked writing prompts for which your answers and wisdom may help our readers
  • We awarded the winners with real prizes (cash and/or gift cards) from our site sponsors
  • By entering the Stage of Life writing contests each month, writers were supporting our free educational literacy initiatives and their words reached hundreds of thousands of viewers who visited StageofLife.com

Find Us on Facebook      Follow Us on Twitter     Read our Founder's Blog

StageofLife.com was launched in 2009 as the premier destination for people of all ages to find information, coupons, and stories about one of ten key stage of life transitions:  high school, college, on my own, wedding, married without children, having a baby, home ownership, parenting, grand parenting, and empty nest/retirement.  Nearly 1 million visitors come to the site each year to find information about their stage of life.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can also share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes statistics, quotes, videos, financial tips, coupons, news, writing contests, and more tailored to each of the 10 life stages featured.  My Life Rewards® is the free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

Terms of Service and Privacy