I spent the first twenty years of my career in an industrial manufacturing environment, running around the hamster wheel as fast as my legs would carry me. My breast cancer diagnosis jammed on the brakes and forced me to put life in perspective. My journey since breast cancer has been focused on making a positive difference in the world. Stepping off the hamster wheel has brought greater harmony to me and my home! My husband and furry baby appreciate that the "Crazy Lady" of the house is gone and a more "Mellow Mama" has taken her place.
I wrote my memoir "Losing the Girls: My Journey Through Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy and Beyond" to entertain as well as spread awareness of this surgery choice. My recently published "The Road Paved in Pink: A Practical and Personal Guide for Breast Cancer Patients and Their Loved Ones" is Part 2 of my Breast Cancer Series. This booklet is HELP and HOPE in a time of need.
Learn more about my mission on my website: shirleyalarie.com.
What is the story behind your latest book, The Road Paved in Pink?
The idea for "The Road Paved in Pink: A Practical and Personal Guide for Breast Cancer Patients and Their Loved Ones" developed after the launch of my memoir "Losing the Girls". A very simple question from a reader planted the seed. She wanted to know how she could help her friend who was about to undergo breast cancer surgery. I gave her a simplified and general answer, but her question continued to bounce around in the back of my mind. Once the idea took hold and I started to write, I was unclear who the audience would be - the patient or the loved one. I ended up writing the booklet for both, because I believe the more the loved ones understand about the disease, the surgical options, and other nuances of this deadly beast, the better the loved one can support the patient in her time of need. I hope that the end result is a tool that helps many people navigate through a very challenging time.
What is your next project?
I have two exciting projects underway that are both associated with "The Road Paved in Pink".
First is the roll-out of a "Pay it Forward" program. I am donating booklets to patients or loved ones currently in need, with the stipulation that they give it to someone else in need when they are finished with it - and so on. The "Pay it Forward" readers will be asked to log into my website to record their location and maybe a little about their journey, and hopefully, a brief description of how the booklet helped them in their journey. My vision is to create an on-line community for those who have been touched by breast cancer.
Second is the creation of Lovey's Angel, who represents the caregivers- the unsung heroes of breast cancer, and all the debilitating diseases. "The Road Paved in Pink" introduced Lovey as the patient and Angel as the loved one, simply because it was easier and more personal than referring to "The Patient" and "The Loved One" throughout the booklet. The term "Lovey's Angel" was coined by my husband as we brainstormed ways to honor caregivers.
I'm in the process of launching an on-line store and a blog - both to honor caregivers. Check it out at http://loveysangel.com/
As a breast cancer survivor and a woman who nearly had surgery without understanding all the surgical options, I have created a video to increase awareness of this aspect of breast cancer. I would bet that 99% of women will learn something new from this 11 minute experience. Please check it out and share if you feel it's worthwhile!
The Road Paved in Pink: A Practical and Personal Guide for Breast Cancer Patients and Their Loved Ones will educate and support those reeling from a recent diagnosis. This booklet provides the comprehensive guidance needed to withstand the challenges ahead. The Road Paved in Pink is HELP and HOPE in a time of need.
Delve into the breast cancer journey and beyond in Losing the Girls, a unique memoir differentiated by the author’s cutting-edge nipple-sparing mastectomy (NSM)―a little-known breast cancer surgery technique that leaves the breast completely whole. Shirley Alarie shares her story to boost awareness of this specialized procedure so women facing mastectomies will know all of their options.