How I Survived Triple Negative Breast Cancer

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Written by Chiara D’Agostino, Breast Cancer Survivor and author of the Cancer Fashion Blog 

I found the lump on my birthday, October 25th, 2014. It wasn’t a happy 43rd. August 2014 I had my routine mammogram and a week later the letter from the hospital arrived; everything was “normal.” Apparently, I have dense tissue in my breasts so the mammogram didn’t detect the lump. (Ladies, if you have dense tissue in your breasts – ask your radiologist – don’t stop at just a mammogram!) As soon as I felt it, I knew the mass didn’t belong in my body; fear enveloped me.

A mammogram, an ultrasound, an MRI, a chest and abdomen CT scan, a bone scan and a few biopsies later, I received the diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer, stage three. Triple negative means my cancer is not fueled by any hormones: estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2); it is fast growing and has a higher percentage of reoccurring in other parts of my body.

The thread throughout my cancer diagnosis was fear. It gripped me tightly in its hands and whirled me around until I was dizzy and exhausted. I felt alone in my terror; friends and family would try and ease the pain by saying “There’s a cure!” “Breast cancer is the best kind of cancer to have!” and “You’ll be fine, my sister/cousin/hairdresser had it and she survived!” I politely nodded my head, thinking to myself, “You’re not God, you don’t know if I will be that small percentage of women that die from breast cancer – it happens!” I was being realistic. I wanted my fear to be acknowledged; I longed to be heard, and held, not patronized.

The steps I took that got me through my cancer diagnosis and treatment:

  • I clearly asked for what I wanted, whether it was lentil soup, a foot massage, silently being held on the couch or phone calls from friends; I didn’t assume people knew what I wanted.
  • I was my own health advocate, making the necessary phone calls to my insurance and doctors: I scheduled many appointments, second and sometimes third opinions.
  • I accepted offers from friends, family and acquaintances for accompaniment to appointments; if no one offered, I asked. Even if it was a simple test I could clearly go to by myself, I needed their company to distract me from my catastrophic thinking.
  • I got a copy of every medical report, scan, test, x-ray, etc. that was done to me. I made sure I understood what was happening, asking my doctor questions along the way.
  • I kept a diary of all of my appointments; what was done, where, and who was the ordering doctor.
  • During chemo, I relied heavily on the nurses – they provide all the caring and a wealth of knowledge and tips.
  • I threw cancer parties: a “Fuck Cancer” party after I received my diagnosis, and a “Boob-bye” party the night before my mastectomy. I’m the kind of person that needs support from my friends, so I made it happen.
  • I wore my natural looking wig when I wanted, and replaced it with hats towards the end; the wig was annoying. I did have fun at one point and bought an array of different colored wigs: I felt like a rock star when I wore them and got many compliments.
  • I posted on Facebook (that’s my way of communicating to many people, but there’s also that I encouraged phone calls and visits, and then I received them – that made me happy.
  • I made sure to get out every day, whether to run an errand, have a meal with a friend or see a movie with one, getting out and hearing people talk about their lives was refreshing.
  • I watched a lot of television, which is unnatural for me. It took my mind off of myself, and during chemo, it helped me to relax; I stuck to comedy and romance.
  • I watched Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Cancer It scared me, but it also made me feel like I am not alone.
  • I spoke to other survivors I knew and met up with them for coffee. When I felt overwhelmed, I took a break.
  • I made my cancer accessible: I answered people’s questions about my health and diagnosis then I’d change the subject.
  • I bought several breast cancer books and flipped through them, with a friend, when I had a specific question; reading them alone was too scary.
  • I joined Facebook groups for triple negative breast cancer and the likes, and when I got overwhelmed or scared, I stopped reading the posts.
  • I limited googling information about my type of cancer.
  • I brought the same friend with me to each important appointment; she took notes and learned the breast cancer vocabulary alongside me. I turned to her during my decision-making process.
  • I called a cancer support hotline in New York City, SHARE, and spoke at length to a survivor on the phone. I was relieved – I finally felt heard, understood and supported! I keep in close contact with SHARE and still go to their cancer support groups.
    • Cancer support groups are monumental in my recovery: I learn a lot from the facilitators and the survivors, and I can speak my mind in a safe environment, where I am unconditionally loved and understood.
    • I was afraid to attend support groups for fear of hearing horror stories. When I was ready, I gave it a try. I listened to each woman and learned, reminding myself that every woman is different and her story will not necessarily be mine.
    • I attended breast cancer support groups in various different locations, and only returned to those that have a well-trained facilitator; some are too big or disorganized.
  • I found a local, reputable hospital that offers free classes to cancer patients and attended their weekly Mindful Meditation class, Stress Management class, Art Therapy class and Chi Gong class. I could relate to the people and I benefitted from learning techniques to relax my body and mind.
  • I attended weekly therapy sessions with my therapist, sometimes more than once a week.
  • I spoke to the oncology social worker at my hospital as often as needed.
  • I saw a psychiatrist and got on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills; at first I felt ashamed, but once the pills took effect, I was relieved.
  • I cried when I felt like it – for me, it came out all at once when I arrived home from the hospital, post-mastectomy: a breakdown.
  • I visited a holistic healer weekly, the energy healing was nurturing. I yearned for healing hands on my body, not those that poked or prodded me.
  • I got massages or facials regularly. At the time, someone was helping me financially, but massage and Reiki can be found free for cancer patients at your hospital.
  • I rested when I was tired, sleeping as much as needed, guilt-free.
  • I accepted help and asked for it when wanted (not just needed.)
  • I aimed to walk an hour a day; it felt therapeutic to breathe fresh air and circulate the blood in my body.
  • I drank a lot of Fiji water.
  • I ate healthy- lots of protein, greens and fruit, limited sugar and dairy intake.
  • I posted on Facebook that I wanted soup, and got containers of delicious homemade soups delivered to my door for weeks!
  • I learned which family, friends and acquaintances are there for me and which aren’t. I was shocked in both good and bad ways, accepting the results.
  • I did a lot of journaling.
  • I created a cancer fashion blog, and blog regularly.
  • I’m now giving back and reaching out to women who are being diagnosed.
  • I surround my self with positive affirmations.
  • I rid myself of toxic people and environments.
  • When I want to do something and hear a doubting voice in my head, I take action anyway! Today, I go for it. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so I make the most of today.


DIY Fun Ideas for Shoe Makeover

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Best in Shoe DIY WW&S

Turn a pair of old boring shoes into the BEST high heels ever! With these fun ideas and decorations, you can easily give any pair a fabulous makeover – and even possibly WIN the Best in Shoe contest at our upcoming Wine, Women & Shoes event on Thursday, September 24th. Learn more about the event at

So grab your girlfriends – it’s time for a shoe makeover!


First, grab a pair of plain high heels. We found this pair for only $16 at a local discount shoe store!
Next, assemble your favorite decorations (feathers, bling, ribbon, glitter, etc), adhesive (Mod Podge, Hot Glue gun and glue), scissors, paper to cover the table, old shoe box (for sprinkling glitter or painting), craft brushes and sponges, and put on your creative thinking hat.
Now, it’s time to start decorating!


How to create a pink-tastic feathered pair of blinged-out heels:
1. With a hot glue gun, apply string of silver sequins at around the shoe’s toe by placing a line of hot glue and pressing the string of sequins carefully with an end of a marker/pencil/pointer object.

2. Next apply pink feathers from the heel to the toe of each side with a glue gun. You can do this carefully by placing hot glue onto the shoe (one feather at a time) then carefully using pointer object (or end of a marker/pencil) to press “stem” into glue.

2. One at a time, apply black feathers to the outside of each shoe with hot glue then press on gems with sticky backing.

3. Cut pink ribbon and form into shape of breast cancer pink ribbon. Use a hot glue gun to secure ribbon onto toe of shoe. Then add a dot of hot glue and jewel on top of where the ribbon crosses to secure the ribbon in place – with bling!

4. Using a craft brush, paint platform at the toe of the shoe with Mod Podge. Hold back feathers and sprinkle on light pink glitter.

5. Using a craft brush, paint heel of the shoe with Mod Podge. Hold back feathers and sprinkle on hot pink glitter.

6. Let the shoes and glue sit at least overnight to seal and harden.

7. Wear to your next fabulous event – like Women, Wine and Shoes on Thursday, September 24th!

Join us for Wine, Women & Shoes! Be there. Be fabulous with your NEW DIY shoes! Featuring wine tasting, Shoe & accessory shopping galore, dazzling fashion show, exciting silent & live auction, dream closet raffle, charming shoe guys and more!

Date: Thursday, September 24, 2015
Time: 5:30 to 9pm
Location: The Woodlands Waterway Marriott
Purchase tickets at:
Limited Reserved seating, Complimentary VIP Wine Service During Fashion Show, Preferred Show Seating, Fabulous Swag Bag, VIP Badge Recognition and more!

5 Tips For A Healthy July 4th

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happy 4th of july
Have a happy and healthy 4th of July with these tips:
  1. Don’t go on an empty stomach! Eat an apple, nuts, smoothie or healthy snack before you go.
  2. Make healthy choices. Fill up on fruit, vegetables, and salads first. Skip the heavy dips and chips! Avoid dishes that you don’t know how they were made or include unhealthy fats and artificial ingredients. For more tips, download the #iGoPinkChallenge Guide – click here.
  3. Eat slowly. Use small plates, take your time eating, and drink water before and during your meal.
  4. Bring your own dish. Share healthy recipes with family and friends, and make sure you have options for you to enjoy – like our Watermelon Tomato Salad.
  5. Be social. Instead of hanging around the food table, mingle with family and friends. Enjoy the company you are with and have a wonderful time at the celebration!

Get more healthy tips and learn what healthy foods to fill up on in our FREE #iGoPinkChallenge Guide – Download Here

Share Your #iGoPinkHealth Tips!

Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Facts, Breast Cancer Help, Health Tips, iGoPink Blog, Motivation & Inspriation, Nutrition & Recipes, Think PINK Tips!, Uncategorized, Wellness & Fitness No Comments

Share your tips with us on how you make healthy choices and take steps to prevent, battle, and survive cancer!

STEP 1: SUBMIT a photo and add a description below
OR use the #iGoPinkHealth hashtag and tag us when posting a photo on Instagram or Twitter.
STEP 2: SHARE your entry with your friends and ask them to VOTE for you daily!
STEP 3: Every TUESDAY we will announce the winner who will win an iGoPink prize on our Facebook page!

Breast Cancer Help – Ways To Support Someone With Breast Cancer

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How are you supposed to know, instantly, how to be supportive to a woman going through something this terrifying? Here are some ways.

Join Breast Cancer Charities as we P-R-E-S-S Forward in the fight against breast cancer! Visit us here

Tough Mom

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Wow. We don’t know about you, but this video made us tear up! Mom’s are amazing. This mother’s day, take a moment to honor your mother!

This Mother’s Day we want to celebrate mom’s who have fought the battle of breast cancer.  If you need some options for ways to honor your mother, consider making a donation in her honor.

Fundraising Websites – Crowdrise

Motivational Monday: BEGIN.

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Every Decision

Motivational Monday: Work for your DREAMS

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Dreams don't work

Motivational Monday

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Inspirational Story: Escaping The Storm

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Multi-colored storm front.

Escaping The Storm

Earlier this summer when Dean and Brenda Rummel were traveling from Colorado to their home north of Kendallville, Indiana, they took a new route to avoid Chicago’s traffic and potholes.

Dean is a real estate agent and Brenda is principal of Prairie Heights Middle School. Their motorcycle trips have taken them to every state except Alaska and Hawaii. However, on this trip, their motorcycle broke down in the middle of nowhere — but really they were in just the right place.

The breakdown led to numerous new friendships. Terry and Pat Svetlecich brought them back home in their motor home and pulled the motorcycle on a trailer. They even dropped the bike off at a Honda shop.

“That’s just me,” Terry told the Morris newspaper. “Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?”

In return, the Rummels insisted their new friends stay the night in Indiana and made them a home-cooked meal.

The Morris, Illinois, newspaper wrote about the Rummels’ experience because Brenda sent a thank you note to the community. People who read her letter to the editor asked the newspaper to tell the rest of the story.

I found out about the story through a random Google e-mail alert.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I called Dean and Brenda and told them I had read about them online in the Morris newspaper. They had not seen the article. Then Dean shared with me another story from the same remarkable journey.

The day before their breakdown they were whizzing through Iowa on I-80. Surprisingly, the low fuel light went on. Dean knew he shouldn’t be low on fuel, but he also knew he couldn’t ignore it. There weren’t many places to get fuel so he got off at the nearest exit and found a gas station.

When he “filled up” he found out the tank would only take about three gallons. It confirmed what he thought and the gas level was not low.

A shove on his shoulder made him turn around. It was a woman who seemed to have come out of nowhere.

“There’s a storm coming. Power lines will come down. High winds,” she said. “Get off the road.”

Dean and Brenda were startled. The sky at the gas station was clear. There was no storm in sight. They did not understand the woman’s concern and they decided to continue on I-80 to their destination 100 miles away.

The woman’s tone was urgent.

“Folks, get off the road,” she repeated. “Get off the road! There’s a bad storm coming!”

The woman’s persistence and her urgent tone made Dean change his mind and head for Iowa City, 12 miles away.

As they sped toward Iowa City, storm clouds suddenly popped up. They increased their speed, racing toward Iowa City. With every passing moment the sky became more threatening. They found a hotel and quickly checked in.

The minute they shut the door behind them, the storm struck with fury. Raging winds threw tree limbs across the road. The storm was so strong that the electricity went out for 2-1/2 hours.

Escaping the storm’s fury seemed like a miracle.

Looking back, Dean believes the woman who warned them and then disappeared must have been an angel.

~ Grace Housholder ~