I am so honored to have these six incredible women be such an integral part of my global mission to connect us all on the emotional side of this disease. This community is so authentic and I am honored to have each one of them help with this much needed global movement to connect us from anywhere in the world. XXOO, Cynthia
Welcome to Learn Look Locate’s “Connect” page. I’m Dr Christina Hibbert, psychologist, speaker, author, mom of 6, & breast cancer warrior. I was diagnosed with stage 1 triple negative breast cancer and the BRCA1 genetic mutation in July 2019, & I’m still dealing with the bio-psycho-social-emotional impact of a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, 13 total surgeries, & too many complications to name.
That’s why I’m here. To help you know:
1) You’re not alone. I see you. I feel you. I understand.
2) It’s not your fault. What you feel is real, is justified, is not a weakness on your part.
3) Help and hope are available. Join my Growing Through Breast Cancer virtual emotional support group, here. And check out the women & stories below.
We are here to CONNECT with you.
Christina G. Hibbert, PsyD
I was diagnosed with stage 1 triple negative breast cancer and the BRCA1 genetic mutation in July 2019. At the time, I thought I’d have three surgeries, wouldn’t need chemo, and would be “done” with breast cancer in three months or so.
27 months later, I’ve been through chemotherapy with cold-capping to save my hair, kidney stones, blood clots, 5 staph infections, a strangulated hernia, depression, PTSD, gastroparesis, breast implant illness, and even had to start my breast reconstruction all over with a DIEP Flap in September 2020, for a grand total of 13 surgeries. So far….
I know the intense physical toll breast cancer takes, no matter your stage and course of treatment. I know what it’s like to have just about everything go “wrong.” I know the immense responsibility of carrying a BRCA mutation. I know the mental and emotional exhaustion that results from intense loss, trauma, and fears. I know how difficult it can be to hold it together—for yourself and all around you—when it feels like everything is just trying to break you down.
I know the vast lack of emotional support for breast cancer previvors, warriors, and survivors—the misunderstanding of others who think when treatment is “done” that you’re DONE. I know the sifting of friends and support people, as they fall away, or fail to show up. I KNOW.
That’s why I do what I do—why I share my experiences openly and honestly, why I offer practical strategies for coping and healing, why I started my global virtual emotional support group, and why I partner with Learn, Look, Locate.
That’s why I’m HERE. To help you know:
1) You’re not alone! I see you. I feel you. I understand.
2) It’s not your fault! What you feel is real, is justified, is not a weakness on your part.
3) Help and hope are available! We are here to CONNECT with you.
This is why I do what I do.
Because of YOU.
Hi, my name is Rachelle and I was diagnosed with Stage 2b ER/PR+, HER2-, BRCA2+ at 29 years old with no family history in October of 2020. I worked in the beauty and fashion industry and have been a career makeup artist for the last 10 years, and my life was just beginning to thrive when I was hit with this diagnosis. I am an emotional contributor for LLL because I want to share a unique perspective of how makeup and fashion served as a form of mental health during my breast cancer fight.
Welcome! Welcome to the club none of us wanted to belong – the breast cancer club. Right now, you are probably feeling overwhelmed with questions spinning in your head like a tornado. You are probably feeling like you are standing in the middle of an apocalypse that has just blown up your world as you knew it. I am here to tell you to stop and take a deep breath. You are with family. You are home. We are a sisterhood of support, strength and inspiration. Let us put our arms around you.
My sister: hold onto my hand firmly as we soar through this cancer journey together. Once the feelings of confusion, fear and chaos dissipate a little, you will find yourself feeling a host of emotions only you and this club could ever understand. You will ping pong back and forth between feeling hopeful and hopeless. Your relationships will change, and some will be tested. But remember – cancer isn’t the end, it is a new beginning.
You WILL be okay, even if it doesn’t seem like it now. You will find a way to be at peace with your diagnosis. You will discover parts of yourself you never knew were inside of you. You will grow emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually to heights you never thought possible. You will discover no path is wrong, no steps misguided, because it is your path and your feet and no one will ever be able to walk in your shoes. There are a lot of uncertainties when it comes to cancer but one thing is for sure and that is the fact that cancer will change you. Now, it is your decision whether it changes you for the better or for the worse. I leave you with this quote from the late, great, Maya Angelou:
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
You may not know me yet. You may not know us yet. The fact that these words are meeting your gaze means this message was meant to find you. We were meant to find you, and you, us.
You might be wondering who we are. We are the breast cancer community, a robust support family of love and hope, a sisterhood of solidarity. We will show up for you within seconds of your reach. Together, we will wrap our weathered arms of experience around you and we will hold you close. Never again will you have to feel alone or misunderstood.
This journey you are embarking upon…
Though it may be wrought with challenges and uncertainty, we want you to know that this can be done. And we are here to demonstrate exactly that, that is possible to thrive again. Our mission is to instill in your heart the peace and belief that this will get better and that there is still joy to be found in every day. It will, and it is.
Whether you or someone else discovered your cancer, it has been revealed and the now that is here has been designed to help you to meet the supreme healing that you long to achieve.
Please know that your body has not failed you; it merely didn’t know how else to tell you something was amiss. Your body is not working against you, but with you. With every pulse and every breath, your body is striving to demonstrate to you that it is working relentlessly, that it can be trusted again.
The hours may be long, but as the only constant in life is time, they will transform into opportunities for healing. Hold on. Hold fast your faith. Envision your mind and body, healed. Believe it will be.
Look to us, those that have walked this path before you. Embrace our stories of survivorship. You are us and we are you, existing in the same spaces but at different times.
We will guide you and we will light the way
Hi. I’m Tricia Irene. It was April 10, 2019 that I was diagnosed with de novo stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. I was a 41 year old, single mom, with no family history. My goal is to help women to remember their strength. Partnering with LLL I am able to connect with women that are looking for the light at the end of the tunnel and together we can find comfort in each other’s journey.
Imerman Angels’ mission is to provide comfort, support and understanding for all cancer fighters, survivors, previvors and caregivers through a personalized, one-on-one connections with someone who has been there. Connect with them to find a angel who can help with your journey.
I love all things makeup and fashion. I’m very much the creative type, always looking for an outlet to express myself artistically. I also love wine and own my own ecommerce wine business with 4 other partners, where we focus on educating and developing a wine palette while giving back to local community partners. I’m also a dog mom of 2 and love traveling. One thing that helped me the most during my diagnosis was not changing or sacrificing my lifestyle or the things I love. I may have needed to adjust and do some in moderation, but I focused on making sure not to lose my zest for life.
You can find me on instagram where I post lifestyle content around makeup and fashion and bridge it back to breast cancer and mental health! @rachellemakeup
My heart and spirit feel most free when I am immersed in nature, whether that’s on my kayak on my favorite river, hiking my favorite trail, or running on the rolling hills near my home. My return to adventure and sport has been a personal quest on which I embarked following my recovery from chemotherapy and my multiple breast reconstruction surgeries. Enjoying these favorite spaces and activities again has helped to better my physical healing and strengthening, but also my mental health and emotional well-being.
If you are newly diagnosed, know that this may be hard, but it is doable. You are capable! You may not feel like you have what it takes in these moments to weather the storm that breast cancer is, but I can promise you that you will develop the strength and fortitude to prevail and to overcome the obstacles before you. Time may be one of the only constants we know, and by living your life one day (sometimes one hour) at a time, you will find that brighter days await. Speak kindly to person you see in the mirror. Know that you are beautiful in every chapter. Your body is experiencing great change and working ever so diligently, right along with your mind and soul. Show yourself grace. Believe in your body’s ability to heal, and never, ever relinquish your joy. Your joy is yours and no earthly disease has the power to remove this from your grasp unless you permit it. This will get better!
Both my mind and body are still recovering from the trauma that is breast cancer and its secondary effects. Despite this, I have found great meaning in connecting with other men and women affected by breast cancer, whether that’s through attending events or bonding through the written and spoken word. Helping others to feel seen and validated in their respective experiences fuels my soul. I have planned and hosted weekend getaways for my thriver and survivor sisters and oh what beauty there is to be found in building a community of love and understanding!
Nothing brings me more joy than to bring a positive impact to the life of another who is embarking upon this journey. My direct messages are always open and ready to embrace anyone who wishes to connect! Instagram: @msmindymiller and Facebook: Mindy Miller Draffen