A Work of Art, Not a Work of Cancer

A Work of Art, Not a Work of Cancer
— Read on https://www.curetoday.com/share-your-story/a-work-of-art-not-a-work-of-cancer

So thrilled that CURE TODAY magazine published the article I wrote about my mastectomy tattoo process. And even more amazed that they are plan on featuring it in their print version this Spring. I am hoping it will inspire another woman during her decision making process.

Please share with your friends on Facebook. We all know someone touched by this disease. And share/subscribe to my blog at irishcora.wordpress.com

It is an honest account of my journey through this shite storm……with a wee bit of an Irish flare ☘️🇮🇪

Also…..a HUGE thank you to Danielle DeWald Pease for her before, during and after photos. She has truly captured the essence of me and the journey. I am grateful for you and your friendship.

And an equally HUGE shout out to Katie Dube. I am a changed woman because of her work of art, her careful attention to detail AND me, and her friendship through the process. I felt so very safe in her hands.

It’s been awhile….

Since my last “Vlog” post in August, life has been wicked busy. SO busy, that my blog got shoved to one side. That is, until now. As I sit here in the dark (power outage since Saturday and no restoration in sight until possibly Monday), I realize how much I have missed writing about my shenanigans.
Because let’s face it, I am the shenanigan QUEEN…..as well as the selfie queen, but that’s a whole other story.

September brought the Beth C. Wright Ride for Life. A 20 mile cancer charity bike ride down the beautiful Northern Neck Road in Surry, Maine. I was honored to be able to ride it with my breast surgeon, Dr. Molly Collins. It was an emotional day for me for a number of reasons. One, was that I had NEVER biked 20 miles in me life!! Which I was able to complete and enjoy every single minute of it. And the fact that it was with the woman I credit for saving my life and giving me the best chance at a longer life, made it even more emotional. Plus, later on that day, me oldest brother Sean was arriving from Ireland to spend “TREE” (phonetically how I say this word for those of you that do not know me 🤷‍♀️) weeks with me. So yah…..that was an exciting and emotional day all around.

Sean’s stay was a blur of activity. From dinners out with friends, to Netflix binges into the wee hours of the night. To over 2,000 miles put on me car from Lubec Maine, to Warwick NY and in between. Fun with family and friends was had by the Fahy siblings for sure. And for this visit, that Sean did not have to worry about or take care of his little sister because of cancer, was the icing on the cake. We got to enjoy each other’s company, and catch up on a years worth of lost time. I was sad to see him leave, but happy for the time spent together. Sean has always been my protector, even when we were younger, and he would save me from my other two brothers tickling me until I pee’d me pants……true story.

The end of September brought the end of Sean’s visit, and the beginning of a “tree” day adventure at the 10th annual Dempsey Challenge. An event to raise money to provide free cancer services to people in Lewiston Maine, and surrounding areas. This was my “turd” (again, how I actually say the word “third” as I have a speech impediment…as do most of the Irish when it comes to words that start with “th”) year attending this event with my dear friends Steven and Brooke Ismail. Brooke is not only my bestie, she also a woman surviving breast cancer, and an amazing advocate for others going through this journey.

Now, I’m pretty good with words, and descriptions of how I’m feeling, but it is BEYOND me to be able to accurately describe this annual weekend in Lewiston. You really have to be there to feel it for yourself. It is a sense of the camaraderie of like minded people coming together to fight for a cause. It is a feeling of knowing that there is this HUGE tribe of people that have your back. It’s not just attended by Americans, it’s global. As people from around the world come together to help battle cancer, and what it does to those diagnosed and their families. To help provide the support we need not only to battle the initial diagnosis, but to transition in to our survivorship of this horrible disease.

This years attendance brought with it connections with people that will last a life time. From Barbara, this years Amanda Dempsey Award recipient, to Zyna the adorable warrior chick from London, who was my cheerleader all weekend. To the four (I’ve added an extra one because it’s my blog and I can do it 🤷‍♀️) musketeers, Annie, Freddie, Joel and Kate from California, all of whom I taught how to swear with an Irish twist, and whose company I throughly enjoyed. To the funny and equally fun loving Mike and Amy from Vermont, and Eric (or as I called him “Pennsyltucky”) from Amgen Pharmaceuticals who sponsor the event. All people giving of their time and energy to join the tribe of supporters during these 3 days of pure love.

Every year I go, I build on my connections with some amazing people. Years past have introduced me to the previous director of the center Mary (Dempsey) Sunshine and her husband, to Lorri and Dennis who collaborate with Fast Freddie to provide bikes for kids in the area who could otherwise not afford them. Chris Parrish (2016 award recipient) and Mum (HER Mum, but now I call her Mum too 🤷‍♀️). One after the other, people who give back to their community and to the world. At a time of confusion in the worlds politics and the horrors of mass shootings etc., it is SO therapeutic to be around people like those involved in the Dempsey Challenge weekend. It renews your faith in humanity and reminds us of the goodness in this world.

Now hopefully next year, my friend Brooke and I will NOT take a wrong turn and end up biking FIFTY miles instead of the TWENTY FIVE we had signed up for. Yes. You read it right. FIFTY! BUT, the universe evened things out, because when we arrived back from our biking shenanigans, we ended up having lunch with the man himself, Patrick Dempsey!!! Yup. HIMSELF!!! AND I got a selfie with him. Life can be VERY good at times. VERY!

October was a little less crazy, which allowed me to regroup and recoup from the busyness of the previous month. But as I head into November, know that the shenanigans will be ramping up. Starting with a girls road trip for Brooke and I to Montreal Canada, to volunteer at the Personal.ink Montreal Day. A day where tattoo artists come together to provide scholarships to women wishing to receive mastectomy scar coverup tattoos. It is in part being organized by one of the women from the Instagram/FB breast cancer community that I have followed for a couple of years. I will finally get to meet her face to face, like I did Tina Doueihi of Redfern Lingerie in Sydney Australia, and Emily Searle of The Dear Boobs Project in Tarunga New Zealand. The fact that I too have a mastectomy tattoo, makes it even more exciting for me to be part of this event. If I can help these women to know how at the end of this day, they will look in the mirror, and see a work of art, and NOT a work of cancer anymore.

After all, I am the #boobambassador 🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

To be continued……