There Is Life After Breast Cancer Blog

Bubblegum Ribbon & Survivors Rock!

April 7th, 2014
There Is Life After Breast Cancer

World’s Largest Bubblebum Pink Ribbon


We had an amazing time at the YSC Conference in Orlando in February 2014. We met so many amazing people. We brought our bubblegum alley to Orlando and took amazing photos and video clips of special survivors from all over the world. Working on putting those into a fun video…stay tuned! In the meantime, you can see them if you go to our Facebook page:

We are so lucky to be able to meet Amazon Warriors from around the world. You inspire us each and every day! There is life after breast cancer.



Hayley & Margerie

Beauty All Around You!

December 29th, 2013

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.

Smart Choices for Breast Health

October 7th, 2013

How Not to Say the Wrong Thing, by Susan Silk and Barry Goldman

September 6th, 2013

It works in all kinds of crises – medical, legal, even existential. It’s the ‘Ring Theory’ of kvetching. The first rule is comfort in, dump out.

(Illustration by Wes Bausmith / Los Angeles Times)


When Susan had breast cancer, we heard a lot of lame remarks, but our favorite came from one of Susan’s colleagues. She wanted, she needed, to visit Susan after the surgery, but Susan didn’t feel like having visitors, and she said so. Her colleague’s response? “This isn’t just about you.”

“It’s not?” Susan wondered. “My breast cancer is not about me? It’s about you?”

The same theme came up again when our friend Katie had a brain aneurysm. She was in intensive care for a long time and finally got out and into a step-down unit. She was no longer covered with tubes and lines and monitors, but she was still in rough shape. A friend came and saw her and then stepped into the hall with Katie’s husband, Pat. “I wasn’t prepared for this,” she told him. “I don’t know if I can handle it.”

This woman loves Katie, and she said what she did because the sight of Katie in this condition moved her so deeply. But it was the wrong thing to say. And it was wrong in the same way Susan’s colleague’s remark was wrong.

Susan has since developed a simple technique to help people avoid this mistake. It works for all kinds of crises: medical, legal, financial, romantic, even existential. She calls it the Ring Theory.

Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. For Katie’s aneurysm, that’s Katie. Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma. In the case of Katie’s aneurysm, that was Katie’s husband, Pat. Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order. One of Susan’s patients found it useful to tape it to her refrigerator.

Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, “Life is unfair” and “Why me?” That’s the one payoff for being in the center ring.

Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.

When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Listening is often more helpful than talking. But if you’re going to open your mouth, ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn’t, don’t say it. Don’t, for example, give advice. People who are suffering from trauma don’t need advice. They need comfort and support. So say, “I’m sorry” or “This must really be hard for you” or “Can I bring you a pot roast?” Don’t say, “You should hear what happened to me” or “Here’s what I would do if I were you.” And don’t say, “This is really bringing me down.”

If you want to scream or cry or complain, if you want to tell someone how shocked you are or how icky you feel, or whine about how it reminds you of all the terrible things that have happened to you lately, that’s fine. It’s a perfectly normal response. Just do it to someone in a bigger ring.

Comfort IN, dump OUT.

There was nothing wrong with Katie’s friend saying she was not prepared for how horrible Katie looked, or even that she didn’t think she could handle it. The mistake was that she said those things to Pat. She dumped IN.

Complaining to someone in a smaller ring than yours doesn’t do either of you any good. On the other hand, being supportive to her principal caregiver may be the best thing you can do for the patient.

Most of us know this. Almost nobody would complain to the patient about how rotten she looks. Almost no one would say that looking at her makes them think of the fragility of life and their own closeness to death. In other words, we know enough not to dump into the center ring. Ring Theory merely expands that intuition and makes it more concrete: Don’t just avoid dumping into the center ring, avoid dumping into any ring smaller than your own.

Remember, you can say whatever you want if you just wait until you’re talking to someone in a larger ring than yours.

And don’t worry. You’ll get your turn in the center ring. You can count on that.


Susan Silk is a clinical psychologist. Barry Goldman is an arbitrator and mediator and the author of “The Science of Settlement: Ideas for Negotiators.”

Signs of Breast Cancer Infographic

June 6th, 2013

Thanks to WorldWide Breast Cancer for this info graphic.

Happy Valentine’s Day from There Is Life After Breast Cancer!

February 14th, 2013

Breast Cancer Pole. You are here.

February 6th, 2013

X marks the spot.


You can find this amazing graphic drawn by our very own Margerie Manning on page 12 of There Is Life After Breast Cancer, volume 1. Do you have your copy yet?


November 23rd, 2012


Hayley Townley & Margerie Manning,

There Is Life After Breast Cancer

Thanksgiving season is a time for reflection and gratefulness.

2012 brings us so many things to be thankful for––we would need at least three hours to list them all. Instead, just the highlights:

cancerversaries: Hayley ten years, Margerie seven years
publication of There Is Life After Breast Cancer
new website:
spending time with the important people in our lives
world’s largest breast cancer ribbon out of bubblegum completed
flashmobs & friends
laughing every single day

As a thank you, we would like to offer you free shipping from our gift shop for the remainder of November 2012. Please enter coupon code THANKFUL2012.

In addition to our book – There Is Life After Breast Cancer – you will find some really cool items you didn’t even know you needed. Seriously, check out our stretchy bags or our yummy-no-junk soaps or lipbalm. They all make great gifts, or as a treat for yourself.

We would have blogged about this at midnight on Black Friday, but quite frankly, we were tucked snug in our beds.

Have a lovely weekend and remember to appreciate your family and friends.

There IS life after breast cancer!


Hayley Townley


October 8th, 2012


This is the day we have been waiting on for over four years! Proof that you should never let anybody tell you that you can’t do something.

We are thrilled to launch our book There Is Life After Breast Cancer and unveil our new website. Please feel free to browse around––you’ll find lots of cool stuff.
Find great tips & advice, check out our terrific products for you or your favorite breast cancer survivor, and more importantly…buy the book!

A portion of all sales is destined for for non-profit organizations throughout the world. We base our quarterly donations on your nominations. Please be sure to take part in our Donation Destiny program and suggest your favorite charity. By purchasing from There Is Life After Breast Cancer, you are making a difference. Good job, you!

Thanks for hanging in there with us. YOU are our inspiration.


Hayley Townley, Survivor & Creator
Margerie Manning, Survivor & Illustrator

P.S. There is life after breast cancer!

People versus Friends

September 16th, 2012

A. People can be divided into 3 groups:

  1. Those who make things happen
  2. Those who watch things happen
  3. Those who wonder what happened
B. If we delve further into that we can do another 3:
  1. Those who drive slow in the fast lane
  2. Those who think that turning signals on their car don’t apply to them
  3. Those who take two parking spaces to park
C. And another 3:
  1. Those who think the world revolves around them
  2. Those who think they should breed (the stupid ones mainly)
  3. Those who think everybody owes them something
D. But my friends all fit into these 3 categories:
  1. Those who make me laugh
  2. Those who love me unconditionally (drinking or not, bald or not, fat or not, cancer or not, 40+ or not, perfect boobs or not)
  3. Those who don’t do anything from the subcategories B & C, but definitely are A#1
Thanks for putting up with me as I change (yet again) into a 45-ish, sober, breast cancer survivor, with a ponytail, laugh lines on my face, imperfect (um) boobs, and still the same freakin’ sense of humor. Thanks for encouraging me when I needed it, and knowing when to shut the f*&% up, and enjoy a comfortable silence with me.
I am blessed to have the friends I have. You know who you are. Come along with me as we boldly go where nobody has gone before!