#50Shades of Support for Breast Cancer Via 50 Selfies for #MyLeftBoob

a tear

Wendy Ann Mitchell’s breast cancer awareness photo shoot, Feb. 12, 2014, Alan Barry Photography

For those of you just joining me, here is my story.

I decided after New Year’s Eve that I needed to slow down and take control of my health. I wasn’t feeling well and knew I needed to cut back on drinking and get myself back to the gym. Little did I know at the time  that a storm was brewing on the inside of me.

I joined Max’s Best Bootcamp on Monday, Jan. 12 and Max mapped out a plan to get me in shape over the next six weeks. The plan included cutting carbs, sugar and my precious WINE! But I knew this is what I needed to do to start feeling better. My plan was to go to boot camp 2-3 times a week, go to personal training sessions twice a week and stick to a strict 1,300/day calorie carb free diet.

January 2015 started out with good intentions for my health but also the challenge and scare of two huge life threatening illnesses. On Day #2 of Max’s Best Bootcamp Challenge, Jan. 13, we rushed my middle son to the E.R. for a potentially life-threatening illness. He had a hole in his appendix which leaked fluid, causing an infection and causing a tear in his intestine. We were camped out at Danbury Hospital for five days, praying for him to be okay. Had I waited one more day….the doctor trailed off…. thank God he was okay!

Over the next couple of weeks of his at-home recovery, I stuck to the plan, worked out and started feeling good. I lost 11 pounds! I was determined to finally take control of my health and stop making excuses. But then on Jan. 28, Day #18, I found a lump on my breast while I was dying my hair. I tried to convince myself that it was just a cyst.Went to the doctor who said I needed to go to get a mammogram ASAP, like TODAY. But I just had one less than a year ago and it was clear?

The mammo and ultrasound techs said “If it was just a cyst we would have told you. You need to come back next week for a biopsy.” Maybe it’s just a calcium deposit? Maybe it really is just a cyst and they were wrong? Maybe it’s just a calcium deposit? Maybe it’s just……. or maybe not.

After the biopsy I had to stop working out because my boob was SORE. The first thing I did after the biopsy was go to the diner and eat my “comfort” breakfast; 2 eggs over medium with bacon, rye toast and home fries. YUM. It had been 28 days since eating carbs of any sort. But it was really easy to slip back into “regular” food for a few days after that.

On Feb, 4, coincidentally also World Cancer Day, I found out the news all women fear- I have breast cancer; Stage 2 Invasive Infiltrated Ductal Cancer which is “highly treatable”and the “most common” in 80% of women who get this bad news. But there is no history in my family, I just got a mammogram, I was still in shock.

Thankfully Max called me a few days after I found out “the news.” My doctor gave me the all clear to go back to the gym so after a week off I was back at it and very out of shape. Max gave me the inspiring pep talk I so desperately needed and made me realize a few “cheat days” was not something I could afford right now. My health and life depended on it. We need to “starve” the cancer cells that “thrive on sugar.”

Jess, my trainer, is very patient and, along with Max, customizes my workouts to target each area of my body without hurting my bad knee, my bad lower back, or my sore left boob. So where do I stand now? I am down 6 pounds, gained 5 back from my “cheat days” but I will back get there again. After  a week “off” in the hospital with my son and a week at home recovering from the biopsy recovery,  my 6 week goal may turn to 8-10, but I am still headed in the right direction.

On Feb. 6 I started a campaign to raise awareness for the importance of self breast exams. Since then I’ve gotten boob selfies on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to help raise awareness for this very important mission.


On Feb. 12, about a week and a half later, Alan Barry of  Alan Barry Photography, also Max’s father, agreed to work with me on a photo shoot to help further my cause.

Screen shot 2015-02-15 at 9.49.58 PM

The next day, on Friday the 13th, I got a radioactive seed implanted into my left boob, although I’m still waiting for my super powers. The only unlucky thing I did that day was waste a tube of numbing cream I didn’t need to apply for that procedure. It was supposed to be for the actual surgery. Whoops! Had to go back to the doctor for a new tube of cream and a new big bandage to cover myself with for Tuesday’s surgery.

So after 50+ boob selfies posted by male and female family, friends and strangers in a less than a week to support my breast cancer fight and to raise ‪#‎BreastCancerAwareness‬, I figured it was high time for me to post one of my own. So here, today, I give you part of ‪#‎MyLeftBoob‬.

Screen shot 2015-02-15 at 5.47.56 PM


My mission is to remind people of the importance of doing monthly self breast exams. This is how I found “the lump.” Join my cause, post yours, tag me @WendiPopRock and hash tag #MyLeftBoob and ‪#‎CancerSucks‬ to save a life. Photo by Alan Barry of ALAN Barry Photography. Hair by Becky Roman ofSalon Kamala. Makeup by Rachel Brewer of Rachel Brewer – Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist, Hair/Makeup & Technical Assistant Taylor Dombroski, set location Maximillian Barry of Max’s Best Bootcamp.

I will be posting the first 50 selfies I’ve received in a separate post shortly. Stay tuned and, in the meantime, please join my mission and help save lives.



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