How can you live WELL with metastatic breast cancer? Lisa Marsella turned to writing after breast cancer came back as a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. Lisa wrote a short essay about her journey with breast cancer to a team at White House | Black Market and was selected to participate in a photo shoot. She realizes that the blessings that have come from writing have helped her live WELL and beyond breast cancer.
This entry was written by Lisa E. Marsella of Turnersville, NJ:
When I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in June 2009 after being a 9-year survivor, I thought my life was over. One of the first things I did when my cancer returned was reconnect with LBBC. Having been a 9-year survivor, I felt as if I didn’t need the support they provided any longer. Boy was I wrong, because as most of us know once you are diagnosed with breast cancer your life has forever been altered.
So here I was again 9 years later reaching out to other metastatic survivors for support and consolation. As expected I did receive the same encouragement and strength that I had after my first diagnosis. Now I can never see myself unattached to LBBC; they are a life line and they are partly responsible for why I am thriving.
In the spring I received an email from LBBC about a contest, a photo shoot in NYC for White House| Black Market. From the minute LBBC notified me that I had been chosen along with 24 other sister survivors to participate in the photo shoot a spark was lit inside me — one I am so pleased to say still shines brightly.
The make-up artists, hair dressers, photographers, production staff….everyone involved transformed 25 women into queens! However, no one made us feel more honored than Donna Noce, the president of WHBM. I have officially dubbed Donna “the fairy godmother of breast cancer survivors.” She showered us with many special gifts from WHBM for participating in this powerful project but nothing was more special than the handwritten thank-you note from this dynamic woman.
As an added bonus Donna Noce invited us all to LBBC’s annual Butterfly Ball. The ball would reunite the 25 women featured in WHBM’s Give Hope campaign. Our energy filled the room. We came together as strangers in July at the photo shoot and we met again as sisters in October at the gala. Having met these other 24 women and sharing this experience with them will always be one of my most cherished memories. My life was changed that day in July at the photo shoot. My spirit was renewed — all thanks to LBBC & WHBM. We were all so pleased to have been present when Donna Noce received the Corporate Leadership Award. In my heart she is most deserving of such an honor.
When I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, I thought my life was over. But my perception turned out to be quite the opposite. Once I acclimated myself to the realization of my situation, I decided that I would would never go down without a fight. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I began to write. I found that my writing was healing and I found a voice inside me that I didn’t even know was there. I encourage everyone reading this; whether you are newly diagnosed, metastatic, a survivor or even a caregiver to find your voice. Once you find it…the blessings will come.
All that was required for this contest was a brief essay and some photos. Little did I know at the time was that the little essay would lead me to a life-changing event, an experience that bonded 25 women. Each of us opened up and reached out to show the world how we have all come to live beyond our breast cancer. Our journey has been one from fear, pain, and panic to courage, strength, and hope. Through my writing, many blessings have come my way. Suddenly this breast cancer journey has become something entirely different. So I am here to tell you today metastatic breast cancer is just a part of who I am but now I am so much more.
Click here to see behind-the-scenes footage from the White House | Black Market photo shoot that took place in New York City. You can also order pieces from the “Give Hope” collection. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of each Give Hope Tee, Give Hope Tote, Give Hope Watch, and Give Hope Necklace up to $250,000 will be donated to LBBC to help us continue to reach women and families affected by breast cancer.
Sign up for LBBC’s Living Well With Metastatic Breast Cancer teleconference series today. Learn about treatment and research updates on October 7, 2010 followed by Managing Symptom and Side Effects on October 28, 2010. It’s not too late to register!