Sunday, October 13, 2019

The 10 Year Anniversary of My Breast Cancer Scare


October 11, 2009 will forever be a date burned into my mind. 10 years ago today, at age 14, I discovered a lump that I was terrified was breast cancer. I knew cancer was hereditary, and my great aunt had breast cancer. I knew cancer was a long battle to fight and that so many people died from it.

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That day was the beginning of one of the most terrifying times in my life. I was 14 years old and just started high school. My life had barely began. My dreams of making the varsity softball team, getting my driver's license, and gong to prom all seemed to fade away. The night before I found the lump was my freshman year homecoming dance. I had my hair styled into a beautiful updo, and I ended up leaving it pinned up for softball practice the next day becuase I was too tired from the dance to take out all the pins. I cried thinking about how chemotherapy might make all my hair fall out and that I wouldn't be able to have my hair look that pretty until it grew back out. During the homecoming dance, I had my very first slow dance with my very first boyfriend on the night that marked our one-month anniversary; I'd never even had my first kiss at that point. I was terrified thinking that I would have to take my top off for some unknown doctor, and I was upset that he or she would be the first person to touch my breasts. I was uncomfortable with my body, especially my breasts, in the way that most budding pubescent girls are, and it took so much courage to even tell my mom I found the lump. In the course of a day, my life changed.

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My mom scheduled me an appointment with a (female) doctor for the following day after school. I walked the halls in a daze; everyone was talking about football games, upcoming tests, and secret crushes while I tried to visualize walking the halls with a scarf around my head. I was too scared and embarrassed to tell anyone what was going on, so I just quietly went through the motions of what felt like the longest school day ever. My mom picked me up after school and drove me to the doctor's office. The look on her face only reinforced my own worries. I walked into the exam room and put on an exam gown that opened in the front. The doctor came in and began her examination. She commended me for catching the lump early and said that I'd need to have an ultrasound done on my breast to determine what the lump was. So my mom and I went across the parking lot to the hospital and sat in the waiting room to get the ultrasound. There were a handful of young women and middle-aged ladies waiting as well, and the judgemental looks on their faces left very little to the imagination about why they thought a scared-looking 14-year-old was waiting for an ultrasound. I would have loved to yell "I'm not pregnant, I might have breast cancer!" When my name was finally called,  I could feel all of their stares on me. I walked back to a room and put on a similar gown as before. The ultrasound technician finally came in and performed the ultrasound. After she left, I put my clothes back on and waited for the doctor.

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I found out I had a breast cyst, which is a small fluid-filled sac, and that it likely wasn't malignant. I set a date to have it aspirated, a process where the doctor would pierce the cyst with a needle and drain it. At home, I did some research, and found out that if the cyst drained and wasn't bloody that I was likely fine. However, if the drained fluid was bloody or the cyst was solid, I could need further testing.

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I walked into the doctor's office on the day of the aspiration feeling incredibly anxious. It didn't help that the elderly couple and the middle-aged woman in the waiting room with me were also tense, nor that all the pamphlets in the waiting area were about breast cancer. I finally got called back, and I put on the exam gown. There were huge needles and medical diagrams of breasts all over the room. A male doctor came in to perform the aspiration. The first time a man would see or touch my breasts was going to be in the doctor's office, with my mom in the room, to see if I had breast cancer. I was so scared and embarrassed; I just wanted to get the aspiration over with. First, the doctors used a local anesthetic to numb the area, then they inserted a needle into my breast to drain the fluid. I watched as the syringe filled with rust-colored fluid. All the articles about how bloody fluid could possibly be an indicator of cancer rushed through my mind. The doctors said something about sending the fluid to a lab, taking a biopsy of the cyst itself, and that they'd get back to us when they had the results. My mom asked if I wanted to stay home from school for the rest of the day, but I told her I needed to focus on anything else, even if it was classes that I hated.

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It took about three and a half months for the doctors to affirmatively rule out cancer. I missed softball practices and had to tell my male coaches why I couldn't dive after fly balls. I had family members want to know every intimate detail about how I was doing who couldn't take the hint about how uncomfortable I was discussing the topic. But most importantly, I came out of this whole experience stronger and cancer free. I am so grateful for the support system I have been blessed with. I don't know what I would have done without my parents, friends, family, my then-boyfriend, and my softball team supporting me each step of the way.

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After finally overcoming my cancer scare, I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to helping those who did not get such a fortunate diagnosis. I have spent the last 10 years doing all that I can to help those struggling with cancer: I've donated my hair twice; I've donated blood 7 times; I've crocheted over a dozen hats and donated them to cancer patients; my Amazon Smile charity is St. Jude.

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10 years ago today, I was more scared than I've ever been. Today, I do all that I can to honor the blessings I have been given since.

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Thanks for reading everyone! Make today the best page yet! 💘

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Fall Nail Trend: Deep Teal


Happy first day of fall, y'all!

I figured I'd kick off my first (substantive) post with a bunch of my favorite things: favorite color (teal), favorite nail polish brand (Sally Hansen Miracle Gel), and favorite season (fall)!

Fall is hands down my favorite season. I love the coziness that comes with the dip in temperature. Oversized sweaters, scarves, warm lattes, colorful leaves, and apple cider are a surefire way to my heart. However, the temperatures in Georgia are still in the 80's for most of the day, so while my friends and family in the midwest are breaking out the boots and pumpkin-flavored everything, I'll just have to settle for other ways to enjoy the season without having a heat stroke. One way to do that is with fall colors.

When I imagine fall colors, I typically think plum, rich crimson, burnt orange, and warm brown, but that's definitely not an end-all-be-all. My favorite color is teal; I love it in all shades, from bright aqua to forest green. Deep, rich hues are always on trend in fall, and teal is no exception. I think it's a great transition color from summer to fall since it's reminiscent of days at the pool, yet the deeper tones evoke the coming cooler temperatures. A great way to work this color into your summer-to-fall aesthetic is with nail polish!

My favorite nail polish brand is Sally Hansen Miracle Gel. I've sworn by this nail polish for 3 years now. Before I found this brand, my nail polish would chip within the first few days. Now, I get a week of perfect nails! The formulas are rich and creamy and go on incredibly evenly. The paddle-shaped brush ensures that you get even coverage and don't wind up with (as much) paint on your cuticles. The brand says you don't need a base coat, but I use one just to be safe. Usually 2 thin coats is enough for the polish to be opaque (sometimes even 1 coat is enough), but some colors that are more sheer require an extra coat. Once the color dries, you apply the Miracle Gel Top Coat, and you have glossy nails that look like gel polish without the UV light!


The color I used is called Fish-Teal Braid. It's a gorgeous shade of deep teal that's perfect for the transition to fall! I always get tons of compliments when I use this polish. If you're interested in the purchasing it, you can find it on Amazon or your local grocery store (find a location near you here). Sally Hansen also has a matte top coat if that's your thing! 

Nail polish is a great way to integrate color into your look, and deep teal is definitely a great color for this time of the year! What nail colors are getting you from summer to fall? Leave a comment and let me know!

Make today the best page yet!
Paige

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Welcome!

Hey everyone!

My name is Paige. I'm sure most of you are probably here reading this because you already know me, but I figured I'd kick this blog off with an introductory post. I've always enjoyed writing, and I figured I'd start a blog to connect with people in my life and to get some of my thoughts out on a platform that's 100% my own. I don't usually post controversial content online (hello future employers!), so hopefully anyone reading this is here because you want to see what I'm up to or because you're interested in whatever I have to say.

A little about me: Essentially, I'm a 20-something law student who's working on figuring out my life. Some of my interests include fitness, reading, crocheting, Netflix, and a whole bunch of other activities that I'm sure will pop up over time. I'm also pretty into trying new products and reviewing them, so if you ever have a product that you'd like me to try, let me know! I'll keep a list of the various brands that have been Paige-approved in a separate link, as well as any discount codes I can provide.

If there's anything specific you'd like to hear about, let me know! I can't promise that every little detail of my life will be put on blast, but I'd like to publish content that is relatable and that people are interested in! Also, I'm a strong believer that there's more than enough negativity in the world, so if you choose to leave a comment, please don't make it hurtful. I'll do my best to remove anything derogatory.

I don't know where this blog will take me, but I'm looking forward to finding out!

Make today the best page yet,
Paige