Are We There Yet? Navigating Breast Cancer Treatment


Breast Cancer survivor and fellow author Mackenzie Crowne is sharing her journey and the book that evolved from her ordeal entitled Where Would You Like Your Nipple? An apt title and one I understand far better after my younger sister underwent a double mastectomy in her early 40’s in October 2010.  It was either that or risk the return of a particularly bad kind of breast cancer, not that there are good kinds. My mom’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent lumpectomy and treatment earlier that year was the initial prompt that got my sister to undergo her first mammogram–a life saver. And now, back to Mac, who asks:

Are we there yet?

How many of us have uttered those words at one time or another? On a recent, four-hour trip to our getaway in the mountains, they crossed my mind at least a dozen times. Because, let’s face it, whether you are counting the miles, waiting for test results, or simply standing in line at the grocery store, waiting sucks. But what, after all, is the human experience, if not a waiting game? We all spend our lives in anticipation of the next big milestone or event, so why is it some people smile through the experience while others grumble and complain? My theory is, the happy people of this world have learned to make the most of the wait.

That’s easier said than done, I know. Two hours in the DMV can feel like a life sentence in solitary confinement, while that same amount of time in the cue for that for the roller coaster you are about to board is spent in excited anticipation, while making friends with those around you. So, which am I, the smiler or the grumbler? Before being diagnosed with breast cancer, I admit I grumbled a lot, and believe me, every second spent waiting to rid myself of the tumor was excruciating, and the following treatments were horrendous, but the experience also taught me to appreciate every moment, to chase after every new milestone and enjoy the pursuit for the adventure it is.

I smile a lot more often these days, with good reason. My loved ones are all healthy and happy, I’m able to spend my days writing, a pure joy, and this week I reach the five-year milestone in my survival of breast cancer. Whoot Whoot!

To celebrate, I’ve just released my guide to navigating the breast cancer abyss with humor and hope, Where Would You Like Your Nipple? You should have seen my grin as the book landed at #6 on Amazon’s Top 100 list. But more important than thrilling ratings, I’m stoked to be sharing common sense tips with woman who are where I was five years ago, and hopefully, easing some of their fears. (***Mackenzie in a better place today)

In the meantime, I’ll continue to do what I love and look for adventure in the mundane. After all, the breast cancer experience taught me that life is fleeting. I plan to enjoy every moment of the years I have left. What about you? Are you a smiler, or do you grumble and wonder, are we there yet?~

***I’m both, Mac, all depending. But am so happy to hear the  good news about you and your loved ones. So far, so good with my mom and sister. I do regular checks and mammograms. Fingers crossed and prayers ascending for us all. I just bought your book and look forward to reading it.

Buy Link: Amazon





18 responses to “Are We There Yet? Navigating Breast Cancer Treatment

  1. I told my sister about your book, Mac, and she very much wants to read it too.


    • Sweet, Beth. I’m so glad mom and sis are doing well. It’s amazing how many similar stories I’ve heard. I found my lump after my own sister’s diagnosis and it probably saved my life since I was already at stage III and the type was fast growing. And we both had double mastectomies because of the high re-occurrence rate.


  2. Pingback: Mac's Mad Mania » Blog Archive » Are We There Yet? Navigating the Breast Cancer Abyss

  3. I’m a little of both. When it’s the stupid stuff I grumble. The big things I’ve learned to wait out. Our car broke down exactly half way between Gallup and Grants, New Mexico, in July. We were on our way back home (California still at the time) from vacationing in Oklahoma. We had five people in the minivan and five small breed dogs, not to mention luggage for five people and my oldest dd was going to move to Oklahoma and stay, so we had a LOT of her stuff on the roof of the van, as well as inside. For five hours I sat with the two youngest girls and five dogs while hubby and oldest dd tried to get help. During that five hours I met a wonderful highway patrol officer and she loved Avon- I sold it back then. lol And even though a two day trip took three and ended in a Ryder moving van- we all still consider that experience the fun family adventure to hell and back! lol But back to the topic- none of us got even a little grumpy during that time. It happened, and without discussion, we all accepted it and dealt accordingly. Not once did we ask, are we there yet? I’m so happy you found your smile to help you get through your ordeal.


  4. What a fantastic title – that alone sets the tone – well done you for writing such a timely book. On a similarly upbeat note, my mother also is striving ahead in her [non-specific!] eighties, twenty years after fathoming the same nightmare. Best wishes to all the people who buy this book, either for themselves, a loved one and friends.


    • I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like to battle BC twenty years ago, Maddy. Go Mom! Stories like your hers give all of us hope.


  5. That’s what I’m talking about, Calisa. Life’s trying moments are so much easier to bear when you look at the glass as half full. Yay you! And all those dogs!


  6. Beth, thanks for writing this book. I’m a ten-year survivor, and I keep telling myself that one of these days I’ll write about my experience. It’s still too personal, although maybe that’s selfish. Maybe my sharing might help someone else be less fearful. I was one of the lucky ones. My cancer was discovered during my annual mammogram. I was in State 1. I had a lumpectomy. In all, I missed about eight days of work, although I sort of lost track of time and whatever happened during that time while I was on chemo and then radiation.

    Barbara Barrett


    • Thanks for sharing your experience Barbara. I can imagine how difficult that must be. But yes, your sharing may help others. I can’t take credit for the book, though. It’s by Mackenzie Crowne.


      • Barbara, big time congrats on 10 years! But never fear that your feelings are selfish on this matter. The breast cancer experience is incredibly personal and while you may be able to help someone else by sharing your story, you are entitled to feel the way you do. We all are. I actually wrote the first draft of Nipple several years ago when I finished radiation, but didn’t feel comfortable releasing it until now. So, who knows? That book may flow from you someday.


  7. A very touching post. I’m a smiler, as well, nowadays.


  8. I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. This book is a MUST read, whether you’ve had breast cancer, know someone with breast cancer, or if you’re human and care about your fellow man. Man? Yes. Man. 1% of breast cancers are diagnosed in men. Their survival rate is much lower than for women because they don’t have–or need–annual mammograms. I just did a mammogram on a man yesterday. Thankfully, it turned out to be a benign condition called gynecomastia–but having that condition now puts him at risk for developing breast caner later in life.

    I am a wife, mother, author, x-ray technologist, mammographer, and….breast cancer survivor.

    Happy Breast Cancer Awareness Week, Mac and Beth!


  9. Back at you, sistah survivor! Great point on the guys. BC is tougher on them in so many ways.


  10. Thanks for sharing your story. Sounds like it will be a very inspirational book. I have not known anyone with breast cancer but; my MIL who passed a few years back had colon cancer. So I think in some way cancer touches everyone.
    Sue B


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