The Words…

breast cancer thirties 30s 30's dog dogs wiener german shepard stage 3c young kids family miniature dachshund summer jeep

Last ride of the summer with the boys & my pups…

I’m going to try something new here.  Rather than focus on a premeditated topic, I am just going to write.  Crazy, huh?

You could say writing was an activity I once loved, but this wouldn’t be altogether accurate.  Sure, as a child/teenager/young adult I enjoyed it on a level that seemed foreign to some of my peers.  Was I passionate about it?  Of course.  But it was more than this.  Writing was almost akin to eating or taking a breath for me.  It was something I had to do to survive.

I know I sound like an idiot.  Obviously you can’t live without eating (though God knows I’ve pushed these limits in the past) or taking a breath.  Not writing can’t possibly be as perilous for one’s body as trying to survive without food or oxygen, of course.  But it was my soul that would cling feverishly to this outlet.

What I’m trying to tell you is that writing was something I needed to do.  It was strangely painful to not write.  It was as if the words needed a place to go and if I didn’t let them out, they would build up inside me until I felt emotional pain.  Physical distress.

Writing was my coping mechanism.  My escape.  My salvation.

I needed to write the words that flowed from my mind, my heart, through my once capable young hands.  And, equally, the words needed me to set them free.

breast cancer thirties 30s 30's young Salvador Dali tree museum tampa florida wish young stage 3c IIIc ribbons

The Dali Wish Tree: “This wish tree, streaming with ribbons, carries the wishes of our visitors and community. We invite you to contribute a wish to the tree, and to be part of the cultural tradition that extends back to Hindu and Scottish rites. In all its forms, the wish tree invites and holds our fond hopes.” [Photographed during our lovely visit to The Dali Museum in Florida (with & thanks to jme & bryan), just before we added our wishes, our words, to the tree’s hope-laden branches.]

But somewhere along the way, this relationship changed.  Life changed.  My desire/need (or whatever it was?) to write is not like this anymore {or that’s what I like to tell myself, at least}.  At some point, writing became an obligation, a job, a necessity of another sort.  And the words that once needed to break free from my mind, my soul, were trapped inside.  Bottled up.  Locked away.  Dusty and hidden, but not quite forgotten.

I hadn’t thought about this in ages.  Until just a few minutes ago, that is, when I found myself once again thinking about stopping here to read your kind words and to tackle one of the tens/hundreds of cancer-y topics I have swirling around in my brain, topics that I feel should be addressed in these “pages” because of their importance.

And, once again, I thought about closing my blog tab in an attempt to forget about writing until the next time I’d find myself in front of the computer screen.   Yes, the next time, when I could once again procrastinate and put off tackling the weighty topics I know should be addressed, topics that I will likely continue to attempt to deal with despite the gnawing pain that emanates from the words trapped inside my soul, the words that long to be set free.

Is It Really “All About the Titties” on National No Bra Day (a.k.a. Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day)?

no bra day, #nobraday , #nobradayselfies , NOT breast cancer awareness, metastatic breast cancer awareness day, breast cancer, thirties, 30s, 30s, pinktober, Breast Cancer Awareness Month

For Real?? Is the pink ribbon pasted on this pic supposed to make this image less offensive?

Is It Really “All About the Titties” on National No Bra Day (a.k.a. Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day)?

Though it has been three years since I wrote “Put That Pink Can of Soup Down & Put Your Bra Back On,” and two since it was published on The Huffington Post, it continues to be featured on Facebook pages and in articles and blog posts, etc. around the world and I continue to receive a surprising number of emails regarding the post and its message(s).

There is good news and bad news here.

I’ll start with the positive.

I hope you know how much I have appreciated hearing from so many of you over the past few years.  I need to tell you that while reading through the comments and messages you’ve sent, there have been so many times when I have been deeply moved by the stories and/or kind words you’ve shared with me.

I’m honored that so many of you have taken the time to read and share the post/article. I’ve been stunned to learn how many of you agree with or at least understand/respect my feelings about pinkwashing, no bra days, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, etc.  Because I stand by my message, I’m grateful that my point of view is shared by many other men and women who have been personally affected by cancer and by a surprising number who’ve had no direct contact with the disease. And I’m thrilled each & every time I hear that the post has changed minds and has educated…because it was clear to me that education was needed three years ago.

That being said, I must admit that despite continued positive support for the post’s message, I was wondering if perhaps my words might be too harsh for this October.  I wondered if those of you who might be reading it for the first time would be shocked by it because maybe, just maybe, things had changed so much so that the post wouldn’t have any relevance on 2015’s National No Bra Day and Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

I figured that a lot could change in two or three years and I had hoped that the themes of the first article wouldn’t be pertinent anymore.

Did things change as I’d hoped? Did “the Internet” deserve a pardon for cleaning up its act? Could I congratulate the former “No Bra Day for Breast Cancer” offenders for turning things around?

Well, you need only look at the image at the top of this page for the answer.  It took me all of 5 seconds to discover that distasteful National No Bra Day “for Breast Cancer Awareness” or “to support breast cancer?” advertising is still running rampant on the Internet this year.

“What’s the big national no bra day, breast cancer awareness month, support breast cancer, set tatas free, october 13, #nobraday, pinktober, 2015, metastatic breast cancer awareness day, bilateral mastectomydeal?” you ask.  Well, for starters, National No Bra Day for Breast Cancer isn’t a real holiday. When/where/how did this event begin and who created the first No Bra Day? Good question. The origin is unclear, but as far as a handful of journalists and I can tell, this event was created by Anastasia M. Doughnuts (hmm, sounds like a real name to me!) through a Facebook event page in July 2011.  The first event had ~400,000 supporters, so it was repeated in July, 2012. Then someone had the bright idea to have a second No Bra Day annually on October 13th to piggyback on Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to bamboozle women into thinking that by removing their bras, they would be helping the breast cancer “cause”.  If you ask me, Anastasia was probably a horny guy who was looking to expand his soft porn collection with girl-next-door pictures of breasts.  Well, Mr. Doughnuts, kudos! Your plan worked! And it may have worked better than you expected based on what I’ve seen this October 13th. Frankly, it seems that some of these girls have no intention of making a difference with respect to breast cancer and may just be using “the cause” or the event to share sexy selfies of themselves.

Sadly, the movement seems to be growing.  This pseudo holiday has gone international with an estimated 43,000 participants on the “International No Bra Day” Facebook page alone.

And much to my chagrin, many of the photos I came across when I searched the web using keywords like No Bra Day Breast Cancer were far more risque than the image I borrowed in 2012/13.  I can safely say that some could even be classed as pornographic.  Dare I say it, but I think “No Bra Day” has sunk to new depths this year.

Rather than give the raciest photos any extra attention by posting them here, I’ll tell you that they are easily searchable if you are so inclined.  But I don’t think the people/groups who posted them deserve the acknowledgement of their efforts to make light of and to sexualize breast cancer.

national no bra day breast cancer awareness 2015 #nobraday #nobradayselfie, bilateral mastectomy, oct. 13, metastatic breast cancer awareness day pinktober

And despite the song & dance on some of the sites that host these images, trivializing and sexualizing breast cancer is exactly what they are doing.

Take the “No Bra Day, For Breast Cancer Awareness” Facebook page.  The page’s owner claims that No Bra Day for Breast Cancer Awareness is meant to be a silly event that “really isn’t about sexualizing or about the breasts.”  But this is his/her description of his/her No Bra for Breast Cancer Awareness page & event:

“Boobies are fantastic, we all think so! What better way to express the way we feel, than to support a full day of boobie freedom? Women are magnificent creatures, and so are their breasts. Let us spend the day unleashing boobies from their boobie zoos. Ladies, free your breasts for 24 hours, our perkiness should not be hidden! It is time that the world see what we’re blessed with!
Your breasts might be colossal, adorable, miniature, full, jiggly, fancy, sensitive, glistening, bouncy, smooth, tender, still blossoming, rosy, plump, fun, silky, jello-like, fierce, jolly, nice, naughty, cuddly, sexxy, perky, or drag the ground.”  Not wearing our bras for the day is about “trying to GIVE hope [to breast cancer survivors], ya know?”

Pardon my language, but all I can say is, What the f*ck?

I could go on with this one, but I think there is no need.  You get the picture.

To be fair, this is nothing compared to some of the no bra day for breast cancer pages/posts/publicity I’ve seen in the past 24 hours.

Some of the posts/words/images that surprised me most can be found on Twitter.  I say “surprising” because yesterday was really the first time I had spent more than 5 minutes on Twitter and what I saw is not what I would’ve expected from a very public and mainstream site where teenagers, grandmothers, TV hosts, breast cancer advocates, movie stars, doctors, journalists and just about every other social media user has an account, whether they are in the public eye or just your average Joe.  Naive as I may be, I expected better for this reason.  I know, I know…

The feed for #NoBraDay (a top trending topic all day yesterday) is an enlightening read.  [  <—-  sarcasm]

no bra day 2

I’ll post this pic from the #NoBraDay twitter feed since it isn’t real. But some of the “real” poses rival this one from the waist up…

I’m pleased to say there are women and men on Twitter who share my stance on the day.  But i’m disappointed to say there are far more who praised yesterday either because it meant they’d get to see naked or braless “boobies, titties, etc.,” or because it meant they could “set their own tatas, girls, boobies, etc.” free and show them to the world if they felt like it.

I won’t lie. Reading/seeing some of these tweets made me dream of locking a handful of these folks in a room with a bunch of topless breastless women (like me) so they could have a little glimpse into at least some of the most obvious possible physical realities of a breast cancer diagnosis in our boob-obsessed world.

I can’t tell you how many perverse comments I read from men and women, how many racy selfies I saw, or how many tweets combined both [like a tweet too provocative to post here — it features a girl’s selfie (including her breasts/nipples and face, etc.) and the words “rape my chest”].  I’m shocked by how many girls were willing to bare their naked breasts in sexy poses “for breast cancer?”

I’ve asked this before, but how the hell could this help anyone with breast cancer and how could it assist with finding a cure or even raising awareness of breast cancer.  If you ask me, these provocative photos and poses do raise awareness of something, but certainly not breast cancer.

I have more to say, more to share, but since National/International No Bra Day has come to a close — and since I’m exhausted — I’m going to wrap this post up.

Before I do, it’s important to tell you that this day, October 13th, is the one day each year dedicated to Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness.  This should be a post of its own (and I will try to address this important day in a future post), but I think it’s rather fitting that I just have time for a brief mention of it here. Why? Because Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day has once again been eclipsed by “No Bra Day.”

Thinking about how a fake holiday that sexualizes breasts and trivializes breast cancer in the name of advancing the breast cancer cause (whatever that is!) and raising awareness for a serious disease that kills ~40,000 women & men each year should turn your stomach.  But knowing that it almost completely diminishes/overshadows Metastatic Breast Cancer on the one day each year designated for MBC Awareness should make your skin crawl.  Give me a break!  One lousy day granted to educate patients and the public about Metastatic Breast Cancer, to recognize the over 100 women & men who die EACH DAY because of this disease, and to acknowledge those who are living with it 24/7.

A less revealing pic from Twitter's celebration of No Bra Day for Breast Cancer... #nobraday

A less revealing pic from Twitter’s celebration of No Bra Day for Breast Cancer… #nobraday

So, yes, it seems that National No Bra Day is still “All About the Titties” and not the women attached to them.  No pardons will be granted this year.

I’ll leave you with the photos I included in my “tweeted” response to the #nobraday & #nobradayselfie posts:

Thank you for reading… All my best to you…

Thank You For Standing By My Side

breast cancer thirties 30s 30's infusion cancer center chemo port blood draw stage 3c IIIc lymph nodes bilateral mastectomy powerport

Hello Dearest Reader,

A quick hello… I’m working on a Breast Cancer Awareness post since Pinktober is clearly upon us again, but in the meantime I just want to pop my head in after these months of silence. I’d like to thank everyone who has reached out to me in some way, who has continued to read & follow, who has shared my posts, or who has had a kind thought for me and/or my boys. You are a warm light in my life and I am grateful…

I apologize for this long & unplanned hiatus. I know you’ve said not to apologize and that I don’t need to feel pressure to post. But I do need to apologize. This blog should be an account of the best & worst of my story and everything in between. But when I feel at my worst and when my anticipated posts take a negative turn, I struggle with hitting the “publish” button, feeling my words may be too negative, or that my writing may not be good enough because I’m not feeling well and am not putting my best foot forward.

I need to push past this for sure… Especially during the month of pink. The truth is, this experience, my life since diagnosis, has not been pink. It has not been pretty. Have some elements been wonderful & bright? Yes, definitely! There have certainly been moments, hours, days that have been special & sweet. These moments are often because of kind, compassionate people who have touched my life or my boys’ lives in some special way during these years. And for that I am thankful.

But I will never be grateful for cancer. This story is filled with good and bad, ups and downs. And I know in my heart that these twists and turns need to be woven into my written story if I am to share the truth of this experience.

Thank you so much for standing by my side, for reading, following, sharing my words, for reaching out to me, for sending kind words, thoughts, wishes for my boys or for me. You are a bright light in my life & I am grateful…

Warmest wishes to you all…

Doing Something a Bit Different This Mother’s Day…

breast cancer thirties 30s 30's fundraising walk fundraiser mother's day support advocacy breast cancer coalition of rochester family

Hello Dear Readers,

Thank you so much for welcoming Morgan so warmly and for encouraging his writing.  He was so pleased to be able to share his thoughts with you — and was even more thrilled to see your “likes” and read your comments.  Definitely a self-esteem booster!  He smiled from ear to ear when he read such kind words from you.  Thank you!!

Well, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before here.  And something that I wasn’t sure I should do — I’ve been going back & forth in my mind all afternoon!  In the end, though, I decided to just post this because it might help an organization and people who I feel are deserving of support…

A very ambiguous way to let you know that the boys & I have decided to use our Mother’s Day to do something a bit different this year.  [Since I have such a bad headache that I’m having trouble forming a coherent thought, I think it would be best if I just pull from something I wrote earlier this afternoon to explain so I don’t make this any more confusing!!]


I’m a bit late to the party (okay, very late!) — I thought/wished/hoped I’d be visiting my family & new baby niece this weekend in VA (but sadly, we couldn’t go) so I didn’t register for tomorrow’s breast cancer walk until today — but hopefully we can still make a bit of a difference with your help!  Every little bit helps…

My sons & I are celebrating Mother’s Day tomorrow by walking in the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester’s (Mother’s Day) Pink Ribbon Run & Family Fitness Walk to raise funds for an organization that helps women (and men) cope with a breast cancer diagnosis through support groups, educational programs, evening seminars, special events, advocacy, and more.  They strive to ensure that no one feels as though they are facing this awful disease alone.

As you surely know, this is a cause that is very dear to my heart.  Diagnosed with a very aggressive inoperable Stage 3C breast cancer when I had just turned 34 and my twins were in kindergarten, I felt completely overwhelmed and as though the rug had been pulled from beneath me.  

And I’ve heard this sentiment time & time again from women (and men) — young, old, and every age & stage of life in between.  When you hear the words, “You have cancer,” many people feel overwhelmed, scared, etc.  And then they are sent off to make (what may even be life or death) decisions about their treatment & their bodies & a disease they may not know much about…  

The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester does their best to make sure no one feels alone at any point after their diagnosis — whether they were diagnosed that day or 20 years past.  And they seek to educate patients, survivors and the public about this insidious disease and to advocate for all of us (and future generations) not just locally and statewide, but nationally as well.  They understand the importance of being a voice for change and seek to educate lawmakers & elected officials about this disease and its causes & the devastating toll it can take on women/men & their families.  And they work with citizen and environmental agencies & organizations to increase awareness of environmental hazards related to breast cancer & other public health risks to protect & educate current and future generations.    

Please help the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester continue to provide their vital services, advocacy and support.

Remember, every little bit helps!  There is no amount too small.  Even $1 or $2 can help.  But since the minimum online donation the site can accept is $10, please don’t be discouraged.  If you’d to give a donation under 10 or if you’d like to pay with a check or cash — please send me a quick email to make other arrangements for your donation. []  Thank you!  

My boys and I will walk tomorrow to honor all of the women (and men) who’ve ever heard those life-altering words — “You have cancer” — and who are still here with us, and we will walk to remember and pay tribute to all of the loved ones this horrible disease has taken.  If you’d like us to add a name (or names) of someone special to you to our shirts, please send me a quick email by 5 a.m…

Thanks SO very much!

Leisha & family    

If you’d prefer to send a check / or to give cash / if you have questions or if you’d like to contact me, please don’t hesitate to email me:   Thank you!

P.S. We couldn’t decide on a photo so if you scroll through you’ll see some photos where the boys (and I) are actually looking at the camera!    :-)


If you’d like to visit the fundraising page I just set up through the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester’s event:

Leisha’s Family & Friends Group

You can read more, make a donation, etc. there

And if not, no worries!  No pressure at all!  The boys & I are happy to simply participate. Plus the weather should be nice ( and I think some of their/my friends will be walking with us), so “the walk” should be a great way to spend the day and to honor women & mothers along the way…

Wishing you & your families a lovely Mother’s Day…

All my best to you, always… 


Cancer In Many Languages by Morgan (Leisha’s son)

breast cancer 30s thirties 30's stage iiic 3c mastectomy dogs kids family life

This is me with Kevin (our big dog), weenie (our little dog), and puppy (my nanna’s dog) pretending to play xbox with me  :-)

This is Morgan, my mom’s son.  Thank you for your comments and nice messages and likes on my last post.

My mom has been sick with infections for a while and is very tired & not feeling well so i thought i would write another post for her.

This time I thought I would write a post so you could see what the word cancer is in languages around the world.  In English, it is CANCER.  Cancer is “a malignant growth or tumor resulting from the division of abnormal cells.”

“Cancerous tumors are malignant, which means they can spread into, or invade, nearby tissues. In addition, as these tumors grow, some cancer cells can break off and travel to distant places in the body through the blood or the lymph system and form new tumors far from the original tumor.”

This is CANCER in other languages:

















Rokh marĕng
ung thư

 <3   :-)

There are more lanaguages and more words for cancer but i’m tired and my mom says i have to go to bed! But this should be enough to show you that cancer is such an important and major thing that there’s a word for it in every language. Every part of the world knows about cancer. It’s everywhere! Cancer doesn’t care who you are or where you live or what language you use. It’s a horrible disease!

Thank you for reading my mom’s blog and for supporting her. I know you mean a lot to her. I know she’ll be back and write again when she feels better. Shes been really tired but shes been on a lot of strong antibiotics for 6 or 7 wks now so i hope she’s better enough to write soon.

Thank you! Goodnight! from Morgan

<3     :-)       <3      :-)      <3     :-)


breast cancer thirties family 3c dog weiner weenie doxie dachshund 30s

Me, Mom, and Weenie Chillin’


Hi my name is Morgan my mom was diagnosed with stage 3C breast cancer when I was in kindergarten.  As you may know I wrote a post when I was 8. I am now 11 in fifth grade and she has had cancer for about 5 years.  When I look back it tells me my mom is STRONG.(of course I already thought that). She has fought this long and I will always love her in the present and the future.



:-)   <3    ;-)      <3    <3   <3   :-)


Hello, My Friends… AND Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird

breast cancer thirties 30s 30's bilateral mastectomy stage 3c IIIc illness

Again I am thoroughly amazed by how much time has passed since my last post…  But I couldn’t allow another day to pass without saying a quick “hello” to you…

I have so much to say, so much to share.  But finding the energy to tell you the things I’d like to tell you is something I’ve been struggling with.  Still.

Please know that I am grateful for everyone who continues to reach out to me or to have a passing thought about me — and/or my boys…  Your thoughts & kind words mean so much…

My warmest, most heartfelt good wishes for you all xxx

early bird 2 ——————

And you know how much I enjoy sharing my love of photography, so here are a few photos that reflect The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge theme: “Early Bird.”

breast cancer thirties 30's 30s family children weekly photo challenge early bird the daily post bilateral mastectomy island

If you would like to participate with your own photos, just click here or here.