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Pink Tutus, Laughter, and the Little Things: How Linda Manages Her Metastatic Breast Cancer

By HERWriter Guide
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Linda Carey's Story Photograph by Ahron Foster

A story from MyMBCStory.com, a program brought to you by AstraZeneca

For some people, finding humor in little things is a simple way to get away from everyday troubles. For others, it’s a way of overcoming the greatest challenges we face in life. For Linda Carey, it’s exactly that.

Carey was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in 2006, three years after she was successfully treated for breast cancer. The fear and challenges she has faced while living with MBC have been made better and more manageable by the small moments of happiness and laughter in her life.

Metastatic breast cancer is the most advanced stage of the disease, and indicates that the cancer has spread to another part of the body, such as the bones or the liver. This is not only scary for women who are diagnosed with MBC, it can also be equally scary for the families and friends of those affected.

Shortly before Carey’s first diagnosis with breast cancer in 2003, her husband Bob started a personal photography project – The Tutu Project – where he photographs himself wearing only a pink tutu in different poses and places as part of the project. Originally his goal was to express his feelings about some significant life changes, including the Careys’ move from Arizona to Brooklyn, New York. When Carey was diagnosed, the project evolved into a way to help make her laugh and allowed her to shift her focus away from her cancer journey.

The project has further evolved to become a support base for others living with MBC — not only does The Tutu Project lighten moods, it also raises awareness for their non-profit, The Carey Foundation, which fundraises to help cover incidental costs not covered by health insurance for those with the disease.

“This can be a very scary road to travel,” Bob noted, “and sometimes the very best thing — no, the only thing — we can do to face another day is to laugh at ourselves, and share a laugh with others.”

Currently, more than 175,000 American women live with MBC, and they face many challenges on their journeys every day, according to AstraZeneca. The special moments — weddings, graduations, vacations — hold additional meaning for these people, and should be celebrated.

There are many uplifting stories out there about people living with early breast cancer; however, few stories are focused on MBC to offer the same optimism. Since 2013, AstraZeneca has encouraged women living with MBC to share their inspirational stories through the Stories of Strength page on MyMBCStory.com.

The website provides information and tools for women living with MBC, as well as their families. The stories on this site are first-hand accounts of how to live with MBC in a way that is right for the individual. They aim to inspire and provide support by sharing how they fit managing the disease into their daily lives.

In addition, AstraZeneca has launched a MyMBCStory Facebook page to give women with MBC an opportunity to share their photos and stories illustrating their own journeys with MBC. This allows them to instantly share their stories, while inspiring others and increasing awareness and education about MBC.

If you are living with MBC, AstraZeneca encourages you to participate in the #MBCStrength photo and story-sharing campaign by sharing your own photo on the MyMBCStory Facebook page. This will capture the essence of your journey with MBC, highlighting the strength in your experience with the disease.

All photos and stories shared on Facebook will have the opportunity to be featured on a display in Times Square on October 13, 2015, which is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

Metastatic breast cancer is a serious disease that can have damaging effects on a patient’s spirits, and it’s important to find happiness during this difficult time.

“My hope is that we and the broader community do not lose sight of one key truth: our disease may not be curable but it’s up to us how we choose to live our lives,” Carey said on MyMBCStory.com.

Share your own journey with MBC by visiting the MyMBCStory Facebook page and posting your own photo or story.

Reviewed July 15, 2015
By Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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