When my fiance asked whether I’d posted anything on my blog lately, I knew it was time for an update. Way past time.
I keep finding excuses to not write – many are good ones: travel, fatigue, hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, advocacy work, absorbing books, Facebook (maybe that’s not one of the better excuses)… The more time passes, the more daunting the task seems to become. The excuses morph together into a mucky excuse swamp that pulls me down. But, as the Superhero Nutritionist, I choose to crawl out of the excuse swamp to write a new post!
Many of the activities that I’ve been the most proud to engage in over the last few months are directly inspired by LBBC. If you recall my last post, that’s the organization for which I became a Young Advocate after attending their conference and training in Philadelphia in late September.
My LBBC experience empowered me to find out which legislators represented me at the state and federal levels and to set up appointments to speak with members of their staff.
Instead, I contacted METAvivor. This nonprofit sent me materials used by the Stage IV Stampede participants to urge Senators and House Representatives to support the metastatic breast cancer community through additional research and improved access to treatments. I used the materials from METAvivor when I spoke with staffers from the offices of Senators Cruz and Cornyn, Congressman Smith and Representative Naishtat.
I’m not sure what effect my advocacy had, if any. Still, all four of the staff that I spoke with seemed to listen attentively to my story and my “asks.” Each conversation left me feeling hopeful. Maybe I impacted at least a few people within the whole political system.
The Texas Legislature will meet in regular session this January, so I’ll be back to scheduling meetings in 2017.
LBBC also connected me with an amazing opportunity – I got to fly into Atlanta to serve on an advisory board for Lilly Oncology titled “Creating Communications that Share the Metastatic Breast Cancer Story.”
The idea of marketing and metastatic breast cancer mixing felt icky at first. But successful marketing campaigns lead to more money for the pharmaceutical company which in turn, one hopes, leads to more research and development of new treatments.
Philosophical musings aside, I had a great time getting to know the other #thriver ladies participating in the advisory board. The whole experience felt like a cross between playtime and a support group, but paid more per hour than any job I’ve had before. Wouldn’t mind having a gig like that again.
I’m loving the work I’m doing now, too, and again I owe it to LBBC. As an LBBC Young Advocate, I was nominated to become a consumer reviewer for the Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) of the Department of Defense (DOD). I interviewed and was accepted!
I’ll avoid writing too much about the program and my role in it lest I inadvertently violate some DOD confidentiality rule. Suffice it to say, I’ve been spending lots of time browsing pubmed.gov over the past few weeks, fascinated by all the cancer research possibilities and feeling more optimistic than I have in nearly a year since my diagnosis.
That puts me in the mood to make turmeric eggs with parsley, cumin seed, garlic and goat cheese.
In my next post, I’ll write about what I learned at the LBBC conference about hormone therapy and exercise. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to write a post every two weeks or so rather than getting distracted and dragging things out for months! You can help me keep my resolution by sending me requests or questions that you’d like me to address on the blog.
And, as always, please share!