Thursday, October 25, 2012

The big debut... my story and... The Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation.

Its not something you ever think of becoming.  You see the newspaper stories, the tv news, the drama shows, and its a mighty tug on your heart to see the story of the mom with cancer.  The show Parenthood is the latest one to portray a storyline with Breast Cancer, starring Monica Potter as Kristina Braverman.  I sat riveted to the screen Tuesday night, watching her hear the news that even though the surgeon removed all of the cancer, she had lymph node involvement and she is HER2 +  which is more aggressive, so she will now have to go through chemotherapy.  They very aptly portrayed the conflicting emotions of being told "the cancer is gone, BUT, you will need the extra reassurance of chemotherapy.  Its not very reassuring at all.

I never expected to be "that woman."  "That mom."  But I am Kristina Braverman, and she is now me. (figuratively speaking- not literally.)



I'm still vague on the details of how they found me.  But last summer I was contacted by a production team from Los Angeles, that was working on behalf of the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation.  They had heard about "my story" and wanted to know if I would be willing to share my story on camera.  They taped a discussion with me over the phone.  I sent pictures.  They had read my blog.  I finally sent them my all time favorite family photo taken by the uber talented Ria.   Within hours they officially asked to schedule a session with me.  Thank you Ria- pretty sure your talented work sealed it for them.


I had infusion the day of filming.  Another breast cancer survivor had offered the use of her house for taping.  I arrived nauseous and nervous.  It felt like I had entered the set of "The Real World." I felt compelled to share my story.  There were lights set up everywhere.  Producers everywhere.  The session was emotionally charged and somewhat intense.  It lasted for hours. I completely went "there."  I knew what I needed to say.  I knew what they needed me to say.  I was beyond vulnerable and you can hear it in my voice, read it in my face.  It's all very Hollywood- they are extremely good at what they do.


 I however, wondered if I had even said anything coherent at all.   


Last Friday, I was contacted by a representative from Edith Sanford to tell me they were re-launching their website with my story.  They will also be using some of my stuff for print media.  And after the first of the year, they will begin using my story in television spots.  

Last night after book club, I came home and Rick told me my story was up and running at the Edith Sanford website.

I was completely unprepared for the emotional punch it delivered.


In a bit I will link to it. 

But please let me explain something first.  

It brought tears to my eyes.  I somehow stepped outside of myself and watched with sheer raw emotion flowing through me.  It took me right back to that vulnerable place.

I said hard things.  And I know if its hard for me to hear and see, it may have that impact on YOU as well.  If you are at all sensitive, truly decide whether or not you want to watch.  Its raw and real.  

And if you do watch?


Please understand, I am doing really well right now.  What I portray here daily on my blog is truly me and what I choose to focus on.  And some things have changed.  The boys are coping as well as they can.  We all are.  The story is a snapshot of our daily existence. 


In the end, I am extremely grateful that I got to say what was on my heart and mind.  Everyone should have the chance just one time to tell their story.  How lucky for me, I got to tell a part of mine.  

The video can be found at the link below- I am wearing my wig, but you will see me right away. 













55 comments:

  1. Fear, you face it daily and some of us only once a year or more. Living with fear is hard, but yet you choose to seek HOPE and JOY. I agree we are all aware of cancer we need to find a cure! And the sooner the better.

    I love your openness and honesty that you share with us thru your blog! I am still hoping that someday I shall be able to chat with you over a cup of coffee. And get a personal hug from you and give one to you!

    Love you dear! Hope today is a great day!

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  2. Fear, you face it daily and some of us only once a year or more. Living with fear is hard, but yet you choose to seek HOPE and JOY. I agree we are all aware of cancer we need to find a cure! And the sooner the better.

    I love your openness and honesty that you share with us thru your blog! I am still hoping that someday I shall be able to chat with you over a cup of coffee. And get a personal hug from you and give one to you!

    Love you dear! Hope today is a great day!

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    1. Verna- you know I would welcome that day with you as well :) I hope Bud is getting healthier by the day and that you feeling well yourself.

      Love you friend :)

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  3. A wonderful honest portrayal of what it feels like to be a mother who is told she has cancer. I was slightly younger than you when I was told I had BC 11years ago and the worse thing was having to come home and tell my two sons. All I wanted was to live long enough to see them become men and I begged God for 10 years. I have been so lucky to see my eldest married this Spring and hope to see my youngest graduate next May. I pray that you meet your goals and that a cure can be found soon.

    Keep the faith Vicki - you are a beacon of hope xx

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    1. I am so glad you shared your story with me- its warrior women like yourself that make me feel like I can maybe just keep doing this... and yes- my crazy goals of hoping I see the boys graduate, get married and have grandchildren- why not ask for it all?

      Thank you for your encouragement! xxoo

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  4. hey you! :)

    I am going to watch when I get home this evening - i am at work, so probably want to be somewhere I can cry, which knowing me, i will! Plus You Tube is blocked at my office so couldn't watch anyway!

    But I MUST tell you that IF the Foundation EVER has you tavel to LA - please please please let me know - I am in LA and I will go to where ever you are to see you face to face - oh my -- that makes me cry just at the idea!!

    xoxoTiffany

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    1. Oh Tiffany- wouldn't that be the best? I wish they had offered- but no- they spent a week shooting lots of stories here. But I promise if a trip to California presents itself, I will find a way to come see you- that would just mean so much to me too :) Hugs sweet girl!

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  5. You are Beautiful Vicki! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. So good to hear from you! Thank you for reading and commenting :)

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  6. Vicky....you are beautiful inside AND out. WOW, was that a story. I'm so lucky to call you my blog friend. :) Thank you so much for sharing what you did in that video, and also for what you share on here. You are TRULY AN INSPIRATION TO SO MANY!

    PS--Next time we are heading back home to North Dakota, I would so love to meet you. It would be an honor.

    Sending many warm hugs and lots of love to you.

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    1. Jen- gosh- that would be so cool to meet up with you! Of course I'd much rather be in Las Vegas meeting you, ha- but North Dakota works for me :) Thank you for always being such a positive and uplifting supporter- it means so much to me :)

      Love to you sweetie :)

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    2. Ha ha Vicky--yes Vegas would work too....he he! That would be so much fun! :) Either way, we're going to meet...I do know that! :)

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  7. Oh Vicky, on this day when I had my last radiation treatment, I see this video of you and my heart aches for you and it swells with pride at your strength. You are amazing.

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    1. Marla- yay- yay- yay! You did it! So happy this day has arrived for you :) Now my heart is swelling for you!

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  8. What a wonderful Video you did Vicky. You made me cry as I do feel for your family especially the children.
    I do wish for a cure for this horrid disease as well as for Parkinsons and alzheimers. No one should get these diseases.
    I will put this video on my blog for people to watch.
    God Bless You!

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    1. Oh thank you Vic- that means so much to me :) Its true- there are many diseases that we need to find a cure for and cancer is just one of them :)

      Blessings to you!

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  9. A beautiful video of such a beautiful woman--inside and out. I loved your honesty.
    I have only seen the first of the Parenthood episodes and was a wreck after it, it does brings back so many emotions...
    btw, have loved reading of your traveling adventures and seeing your beautiful photos.

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    1. Thank you Becky- yes seeing it played out, even in a fictional setting just floods me instantly with emotion. Thank you for your faithful following and support! I hope you are doing well :)

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  10. I've been following your blog for a couple months now and I just want to tell you, Vicky, that you are so brave. You are brave to share your story with such honesty. You are brave to get up every day knowing you have cancer. Thank you for sharing your story on this blog and on the Sanford website. Your strength is inspiring.

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    1. So happy that you left me a comment today- I so enjoy getting to know everyone who reads- thank you!

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  11. Vicky, I have not watched the video yet. But, I wanted to say that, you are a very strong person who inspires a lot of people through your blog. I can only imagine what an inspiration you will be to those who find you through this video and the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation. And, I strongly believe that by helping others, we help ourselves.

    Love and hugs to you, my friend.

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    1. Eileen, I hadn't paid much attention to the fact that it is hosted on Youtube. I finally went to Youtube and saw all the other stories and wow- I am one of so many unique stories that all have common themes. The one thing I really saw was how earnest the desire was for no more women to have to battle this disease. Thank you for faithfully walking this journey with me- you always encourage me greatly :)

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  12. Vicky, first let me say that you are probably the most beautiful and bravest of warriors I have ever met. I couldn't help but have tears as I watched the video. I felt ever emotion you held back, and you took me back to those days when time slowed to a crawl for me while my thoughts and emotions raced on ahead of me. Strange . . . I had no tears then, but now, when I tell my story, I feel the emotions rise and my voice break and the hot wet eyes I can't control. There is a strength that is given us that is beyond our own as we go through the fires of chemo, and it changes us, doesn't it. You speak with authority, yet compassion, urgency, yet patience, hatred of this disease, but loving so deeply those who are starting this battle. I pray for you and your family daily and I know that no matter what your future holds, it DOES hold purpose, inspiration, direction, encouragement, and love. It has been a privilege to follow you through this journey!

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    1. Cora! You are missed! I think of you often and wonder how you are doing? Yes- you articulate the experience so well Cora and your words always paint such a brilliant canvas. Thank you for faithfully walking with me on this journey- your strength bolsters me!

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  13. Awesome, and very good. You should be very proud of yourself for your good work and calm 'presentation'. Praying you are going to be OK for a long time.

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words and prayers!

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  14. Awww! You did AWESOME Vicky! Gave me the biggest smile and warmed my heart because you are awesome and you have come SO far!

    This was beautiful... :)
    Hugs,
    Michelle

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    1. Thanks Michelle- I sure have been thinking of you- you have your own beautiful journey you are traveling and I know you'd shine in a video like this!! Hugs and prayers for the new chemo to work, work, work!

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  15. Incredible, amazing... raw and honest ... so YOU. Thank you for sharing your story, having the courage to do so has helped so many, in ways you're probably not even aware. You are truly beautiful inside and out, Vicky.

    I'm hoping years from now we are still celebrating your boys milestones with you here on your blog. You go girl.

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    1. Karen- it would be a dream come true - the more milestones the better! Its absolutely what I long for. Thank you for your ever gracious and encouraging support :)

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  16. Your story seems even more real hearing your voice. Goodness, I wasn't ready for that. You are so very brave and so beautiful. This Georgia girl prays for you often, for your boys (your husband and your sons) and for your days to be long and full of joy. The tag line I read often...my prayer for you...until all are cured! Many, many blessings to you...counting blessings that these days are good, believing for more.

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    1. Jenny- I love all of my "Georgia" women- they are one of a kind and I am so honored to count you amongst them! I love your tag line- there are so MANY of us and so many needing prayer. Thank you for faithfully praying- it makes such a difference in my life!

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  17. You are doing such important work, Vicky. Bravo!

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    1. Thank you Bonnie- its very meaningful to me that what I do has purpose to it- and I am hopeful that somehow it helps the cause or helps someone :)

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  18. I watched and you are every bit as beautiful as your pictures show you are. You really did an amazing job so it is no wonder that they would want you to do this really important work. You are a great communicator, have a brilliant way with language and your message is powerful. There are not enough people saying to put more money into research. I agree people are very aware but we need to give the scientists etc more funding to find the cure. And I also love your wig - really suits you.

    You have done so much for others when it would have been just as easy to not do anything and focus on your own fight. You have a gift and you are using it for a power of good and helping so many other people. I think it is just the start of big things. Onwards and upwards. What is next I wonder.

    And those boys of yours - are just little heroes too.

    Have a great weekend and thank you for sharing this with us all.

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    1. Thank you Lilly for being the great encourager you are. I too wonder what is next? I'm just trying to stay open and see what comes :) And what is next for you Lilly?

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  19. vicky...this was wonderful. your message and how strong you were to share it, was so incredibly perfect !!
    because, like you said, we really are all aware of the cancer that surrounds us !!

    big hugs to you !!

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  20. this whole experience has been "raw and real" for you and for your family. The honesty you share in this video, and here with us is a true gift in helping us all to be aware of the pain and the suffering, but also of the joy that can come with this disease.

    You are an exceptional person, Vicky. I am so glad that more people can hear your wisdom.

    Much love and hugs!

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    1. Thank you for your insightful comment Marion- much love to you!

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  21. I don't even know what to say. You are incredible. I am so glad I got to meet you, even in this crazy blog world.
    You are a testament to how strong women really are.
    I pray for you often. Think of you often.
    I wish I could hug you in real time.

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    1. Hilary- I wold love nothing more than to hug you right back :) Thank you for your gracious words and all of those prayers! Blessings to you!

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  22. I'm so proud of you, Vicky and blessed to call you friend.

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    1. Thank you Roxane- the admiration is mutual I assure you :)

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  23. Just saw the video Vicky..I have a lump in my throat..If God is listening, I pray God to give you a life long enough to see your grandchildren. I earnestly pray for your wellbeing. God bless

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    1. Hey sweetie- thank you for the lovely prayers- they mimic my hearts desire more than you could know. I hope you are well- always so good to see you here :)

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  24. Just watched your video clip Vicky....wow! After being connected to you through blogging, I now feel I know you a little closer. I think about you so often and sometimes wonder how you can physically and mentally stay strong. You are incredible Vicky...your life and cancer has made me take a second look at everything. Blessings to you and your family.

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    1. Lisa- if I had any impact on how you see and do things, than I am extremely honored. It helps me live with purpose and I pray its God's work that I am doing :)

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  25. Vicky...I just stopped and said WOW my problems seem SO small. You did an AMAZING job. I'm praying that you WILL live a long and happy, healthy life. God is able! You are so loved and respected by SO many.

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    1. Thank you Kay- so good of you to visit. I always hope that my problems don't diminish anyone else's. We are all here sharing a human experience and our feelings and reactions to our problems are the same. Thank you for your prayers! xxoo

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  26. I have waited to watch this purposefully. Wanting to not be in a vulnerable sot myself as I watched it. You said it so honestly and perfectly. I know these feelings so well.

    And I texted Becky recently and told her that parenthood has it all: adoption, photography, and now cancer. I cry almost every week. ;)

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  27. Bringing up the rear.......have avoided watching as long as I can and I owe you an apology. I don't WANT it to be any more real but now I will go there and I will watch and I will process and I KNOW you'll be wonderful - wonderfully real and wonderfully you and it will be wonderfully done and then I'll cry wonderfully terrible tears. Please forgive me for being weak and in denial but here I am and I'll be back after I watch.......

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  28. Always so vulnerable and real and authentic, Vicky. Your heart is very obvious in that film and the devastation of your struggle is in every expressive movement of your face and floats on the strains of your words. And yet, you leave us with resolve and hope and we grasp it and hang on with you knowing God can do more than we can imagine and so we imagine hard and ask for whatever is beyond that - hoping, believing, and praying. Thank you for sharing it with all of us and again, I'm so sorry I didn't enter boldly but timidly crawled in to sit and listen and just be there. I love you.

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