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My Breast Cancer Experience by Kim Decker… Part 1

October 26, 2009   

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Changes:

No one plans on getting a chronic illness. When you are faced with “the news,” you have a choice. As singer/songwriter Holly Near asks, “Do you pick fascination or fear?”

I certainly had a lot of anxiety and fear. However, I found that getting curious and understanding more about my illnesses helped me. In reflection, I now realize how much I have forgotton and how much I have chosen fascination.

As I’m writing this book, I notice that an orchid, was given to me when I was diagnosed and it is finally re-blooming, a year and 10 months later. Hopefully, no matter what changes we go through with cancer, we will bloom on the other side too.

Summer 2004:

I was celebrating being stable mentally after experiencing a manic episode in the fall of 2002 and finding out I had Bipolar Type 1 disorder. My husband, Ethan, and I were talking more seriously about starting a family. Then we found a lump on my left breast. I was told to watch it, assured that I was young with no family history. I was happy to ignore it. Later that summer a lump under my left armpit got my attention and within four days both lumps were removed and it was confirmed that I had all receptor negative breast cancer.

In shock, because I felt really healthy. In shock because that is how I deal with trauma. I had a lumpectomy and axial node dissection which showed that five of 21 lymph nodes removed were infected with cancer. I was diagnosed stage 2a, faced four months of Faxotere and A/C, had another re-excision in January, and had radiation in February and March for six weeks. Those are the medical details. To follow is my personal journey.

Off with the Hair:

I didn’t want to wait for my hair to fall out. I donated my 10 inches of hair to Locks of Love, a nonprofit that makes wigs for kids and adults with hair loss. My friends Esther and Josh had just bought a pair of shears to use on Josh’s head. Esther “practiced” on me first, since I wanted it all off.

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I learned the true meaning of Take Care:

With my hair off and wig and hats waiting and ready, I felt prepared for chemotherapy. I was very scared heading into the first round of chemo. I attended a breast cancer support group and it helped to hear other women’s stories. I met with a doctor that specialized in holistic cancer treatment and recommended a slew of supplements; I found an acupuncturist; I signed up my girl friends to drive me to my chemo appointments; I scheduled massages every 2 weeks.

Taking care of yourself comes in many forms and often can seem overwhelming. I so appreciated Ethan’s ability to let me be however I was feeling at the time and take care of himself too.

To be continued…

Storybooking is a celebration of life. Celebrate yours today.

Need help getting started? Choose a cancer awareness template: Cancer Survival Story (feminine) or Cancer Survival Story (masculine). Or pick from our wide selection in the Template Gallery.

Welcome to the new My Photos

October 26, 2009   

Now you can do so much more with your Heritage Makers photo storage system. Not only can you upload photos and store them into albums, but now you can organize those albums into folders.

When you enter My Photos you will see a screen that looks like this.


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To the left of the screen is where you can organize all your photos. Make multiple folders and multiple albums. Plus, you can do so much more.

  1. To view an existing album, simply click on a folder. The albums in that folder will drop down. Just click the one you want to view.
  2. To create a new folder, click the button “new folder” located above the photo organizer. Then name the folder (ex. Summer 2009) and click “create folder.”
  3. To create an album, click on the folder you want the album to appear under. Click “new album,” name the album (ex. Lake Michigan), and click “create album.”
  4. Share albums with friends and family by clicking on an album and on the “share” button located below the photo organizer.
  5. Double click on the photo to add a title or caption. Ex. Title: Saving the Easter Bunny. Caption: Brian thought dad really ate the Easter Bunny and was ready to use the plunger to save him.
  6. Also download a high resolution image by double clicking on a photo.

 Plus, you can do all this all from within Studio Editor.

Using My Photos has never been more simple or fun. Try it out for yourself.