Melanie Lynn Penn Design

Melanie Lynn Penn Design (@melanielynnpenndesign)

Bio:@newyork_breasties ♡ BRCA awareness activist Post mastectomy woman 7/2/18 proud mutant Seeking women to let me tell their story with my drawings

302 posts      1221 followings      1874 followers      346 tags

Stories

Highlights

Honored to have my work used in this tribute ♡ 
#Repost @roandcocookies
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Do you know what metastatic breast cancer is? I didn’t, until I met Colleen Poteat about 9 years ago. I stared at her in a hallway at a homeschool co-op, not because she had no hair or breasts...but because she had FIVE BOY CHILDREN and a smile on her face. What a crazy nut! Who has 5 kids and homeschools then all?! Three months ago, surrounded by all those boys and her amazing husband Jason Poteat, she went peacefully. Colleen FOUGHT for her diagnosis because doctors told her, at first, “you’re too young.” * Metastatic breast cancer is what kills people.
* Early detection does not prevent metastasis. * 20-30% of people with breast cancer will develop metastasis.
* Metastatic breast cancer kills 40,000 people each year, a number that hasn’t changed in 20 years despite all the “awareness” Americans can buy. * Nobody knows what causes breast cancer to metastasize or how to predict it, because only 7% of research grants are used to study metastatic breast cancer despite the fact that metastasis is what causes breast cancer to become a deadly disease.
#nationalmetastaticbreastcancerawarenessday #dontgopinkforme #breastcancerACTIONmonth #stageIVneedsmore #metavivor #metastaticbreastcancernetwork *Original artwork used with explicit written  permission from the artist.* STAGE IV needs MORE. Stop buying pink crap and decide to put your donations to research. Like the actual science. @metavivor I’d love to donate these cookies! @melanielynnpenndesign .
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#dontignorestageiv #NotJustOne #StageIV #StageIVneedsmore #stageivbreastcancer #metastaticbreastcancer #thisismbc #breastcancer #fuckcancer #thisisnotpink

Honored to have my work used in this tribute ♡  #Repost @roandcocookies • • • • • Do you know what metastatic breast cancer is? I didn’t, until I met Colleen Poteat about 9 years ago. I stared at her in a hallway at a homeschool co-op, not because she had no hair or breasts...but because she had FIVE BOY CHILDREN and a smile on her face. What a crazy nut! Who has 5 kids and homeschools then all?! Three months ago, surrounded by all those boys and her amazing husband Jason Poteat, she went peacefully. Colleen FOUGHT for her diagnosis because doctors told her, at first, “you’re too young.” * Metastatic breast cancer is what kills people. * Early detection does not prevent metastasis. * 20-30% of people with breast cancer will develop metastasis. * Metastatic breast cancer kills 40,000 people each year, a number that hasn’t changed in 20 years despite all the “awareness” Americans can buy. * Nobody knows what causes breast cancer to metastasize or how to predict it, because only 7% of research grants are used to study metastatic breast cancer despite the fact that metastasis is what causes breast cancer to become a deadly disease.  #nationalmetastaticbreastcancerawarenessday  #dontgopinkforme  #breastcancerACTIONmonth  #stageIVneedsmore  #metavivor  #metastaticbreastcancernetwork *Original artwork used with explicit written permission from the artist.* STAGE IV needs MORE. Stop buying pink crap and decide to put your donations to research. Like the actual science. @metavivor I’d love to donate these cookies! @melanielynnpenndesign . . .  #dontignorestageiv  #NotJustOne  #StageIV  #StageIVneedsmore  #stageivbreastcancer  #metastaticbreastcancer  #thisismbc  #breastcancer  #fuckcancer  #thisisnotpink

Still relevant. 
Ive been in a really off place lately. My anxiety has been the worst it's been in ages, my brain is fixating on stupid nonsense. (See also. Tiny physical "imperfections" that I've honed in on to avoid thinking about things that actually matter but are truly upsetting if I let myself focus on them)
I know a lot of this is coming from my eye and still not having left side peripheral (it is beyond unnerving not knowing someone's next to you til they tap your shoulder) and not being back to my full workout yet. But I'm sure it's a lot of other things lately. 
You've probably noticed barely any new work has made an appearance this month, that'll change soon. Aside from everything else I've learned this year, I've learned not forcing creation when I'm not mentally in it is the best thing I can do for myself. 
That and telling my mirror to fuck the hell off.

I am enough. I am beautiful. I am perfect as I am. (Hiding behind my painting in one of my favorite bras ever, front close from @anaonointimates )
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#anxiety #selflove #herstory #bodyimage #melanielynnpenndesign #reconstructivesurgery #bilateralmastectomy #mastectomy #scarsarebeautiful #femaleempowerment #femaleform #mirrortalk #selftalk #previvor #brcapositive #brca #brca1 #breasties #loveyourself #loveyourbody #empowerwomen #empoweringwomen #womenshealth #comfortinyourskin

Still relevant. Ive been in a really off place lately. My anxiety has been the worst it's been in ages, my brain is fixating on stupid nonsense. (See also. Tiny physical "imperfections" that I've honed in on to avoid thinking about things that actually matter but are truly upsetting if I let myself focus on them) I know a lot of this is coming from my eye and still not having left side peripheral (it is beyond unnerving not knowing someone's next to you til they tap your shoulder) and not being back to my full workout yet. But I'm sure it's a lot of other things lately. You've probably noticed barely any new work has made an appearance this month, that'll change soon. Aside from everything else I've learned this year, I've learned not forcing creation when I'm not mentally in it is the best thing I can do for myself. That and telling my mirror to fuck the hell off. I am enough. I am beautiful. I am perfect as I am. (Hiding behind my painting in one of my favorite bras ever, front close from @anaonointimates ) . . . .  #anxiety  #selflove  #herstory  #bodyimage  #melanielynnpenndesign  #reconstructivesurgery  #bilateralmastectomy  #mastectomy  #scarsarebeautiful  #femaleempowerment  #femaleform  #mirrortalk  #selftalk  #previvor  #brcapositive  #brca  #brca1  #breasties  #loveyourself  #loveyourbody  #empowerwomen  #empoweringwomen  #womenshealth  #comfortinyourskin

This is one of my favorite humans on the planet, @beyondthepinkribbon / @emilyrgarnett aka Emily aka my partner in inappropriately timed inappropriate humor always. Wife. Mother. Absolute badass. She is living with metastatic breast cancer. This is her story: "I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2017, the same week as my 5th wedding anniversary and my son’s 2nd birthday. I had been having back pain since his birth, but all of the doctors I saw dismissed it as normal postpartum pain, until my primary care doctor did a full physical and found a lump in my breast.

I felt uncomfortable with the level of care I received at the first oncologist I saw, who was also dismissive of my back pain, and sought a second opinion. By then, my pain had spread to my hips, ribs, and was so debilitating that some days, I could barely stand. My second oncologist recognized those symptoms as part of a larger diagnosis, and immediately ordered further imaging. Those scans showed that my breast cancer had metastasized to my bones, making me stage IV- metastatic.

Trying to make sense of this shitty curveball that life had thrown me is an ongoing process, one that I don’t think I will fully come to terms with. And that’s ok. I started blogging after I was diagnosed, because who doesn’t have a cancer blog these days?! Then I started a podcast, because apparently cancer podcasts are the new cancer blogs, and you know, gotta keep up with those Joneses. In all seriousness though, there can never be enough voices speaking about the realities of life with cancer, especially metastatic breast cancer, because we all forge different experiences for ourselves, and the pieces that resonate for you may not resonate with me. And that too is ok. It is so critical to both recognize that all of these challenges and experiences are valid, and also that life after a cancer diagnosis isn’t an either/or situation. You don’t have to be either finding positives/finding new joys in your life or be completely devastated by the world-shattering diagnosis. You can live with both. (Cont below)

This is one of my favorite humans on the planet, @beyondthepinkribbon / @emilyrgarnett aka Emily aka my partner in inappropriately timed inappropriate humor always. Wife. Mother. Absolute badass. She is living with metastatic breast cancer. This is her story: "I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2017, the same week as my 5th wedding anniversary and my son’s 2nd birthday. I had been having back pain since his birth, but all of the doctors I saw dismissed it as normal postpartum pain, until my primary care doctor did a full physical and found a lump in my breast. I felt uncomfortable with the level of care I received at the first oncologist I saw, who was also dismissive of my back pain, and sought a second opinion. By then, my pain had spread to my hips, ribs, and was so debilitating that some days, I could barely stand. My second oncologist recognized those symptoms as part of a larger diagnosis, and immediately ordered further imaging. Those scans showed that my breast cancer had metastasized to my bones, making me stage IV- metastatic. Trying to make sense of this shitty curveball that life had thrown me is an ongoing process, one that I don’t think I will fully come to terms with. And that’s ok. I started blogging after I was diagnosed, because who doesn’t have a cancer blog these days?! Then I started a podcast, because apparently cancer podcasts are the new cancer blogs, and you know, gotta keep up with those Joneses. In all seriousness though, there can never be enough voices speaking about the realities of life with cancer, especially metastatic breast cancer, because we all forge different experiences for ourselves, and the pieces that resonate for you may not resonate with me. And that too is ok. It is so critical to both recognize that all of these challenges and experiences are valid, and also that life after a cancer diagnosis isn’t an either/or situation. You don’t have to be either finding positives/finding new joys in your life or be completely devastated by the world-shattering diagnosis. You can live with both. (Cont below)

Today is BRA Day aka #breastreconstructionawarenessday . 
Last year on Bra Day I was at a @the_breasties event and finally met @bonjour_danielle in person for the first time and I also met @stakselrod @kabitha1430 and @sa_rita_13 (who I have no photos with...can we fix this plz?) . It was also the night I first met Syd, who's passing reminded me how fragile our grasp on everything can be at any given time. 
Considering all of this and the day that it is seems like a good time to talk about gain and loss. Unfortunately the pendulum swings both ways frequently in this life. How we handle that, just like what we opt to do with our chests post mastectomy is deeply personal. For the first 5 years I didn't talk to anyone, opening up and diving in changed my life and ultimately changed the type of reconstruction I was planning on having! 
This community of amazing women has brought so much into my life. They entered it at a time when I felt that BRCA was only taking things from me. And don't get me wrong. It's still taking things, but what I have been gifted in return from the universe has been incredible and not a day goes by that I'm not grateful to have this beautiful group of ladies around me. 
My very first breastie ever @hellodanijay entered my life shortly after I decided to have surgery. I had 700 questions for her mostly about her reconstruction and the surgeries and how much all this shit was going to hurt. Like 15 minutes later we were exchanging absurd memes and the rest is history. (Like like my old boobs. Byeee)

Having women who have lived through it to ask, to see, to commiserate with has been all the difference. Someone who gets it being there is a necessary part of healing.

Grateful to this community for being there, for stepping up, for answering questions, for showing reality. For giving a voice to so many. For helping get us through when loss happens, be it of our original bodies, or loved ones, or of anything else. And I am forever grateful. 
Photo taken at Camp Breastie. We wore floral. We stood in front of flowers. Breastie camouflage legit. 
I'll be posting more about my actual reconstruction choices in my stories today :) stay tuned ♡

Today is BRA Day aka  #breastreconstructionawarenessday . Last year on Bra Day I was at a @the_breasties event and finally met @bonjour_danielle in person for the first time and I also met @stakselrod @kabitha1430 and @sa_rita_13 (who I have no photos with...can we fix this plz?) . It was also the night I first met Syd, who's passing reminded me how fragile our grasp on everything can be at any given time. Considering all of this and the day that it is seems like a good time to talk about gain and loss. Unfortunately the pendulum swings both ways frequently in this life. How we handle that, just like what we opt to do with our chests post mastectomy is deeply personal. For the first 5 years I didn't talk to anyone, opening up and diving in changed my life and ultimately changed the type of reconstruction I was planning on having! This community of amazing women has brought so much into my life. They entered it at a time when I felt that BRCA was only taking things from me. And don't get me wrong. It's still taking things, but what I have been gifted in return from the universe has been incredible and not a day goes by that I'm not grateful to have this beautiful group of ladies around me. My very first breastie ever @hellodanijay entered my life shortly after I decided to have surgery. I had 700 questions for her mostly about her reconstruction and the surgeries and how much all this shit was going to hurt. Like 15 minutes later we were exchanging absurd memes and the rest is history. (Like like my old boobs. Byeee) Having women who have lived through it to ask, to see, to commiserate with has been all the difference. Someone who gets it being there is a necessary part of healing. Grateful to this community for being there, for stepping up, for answering questions, for showing reality. For giving a voice to so many. For helping get us through when loss happens, be it of our original bodies, or loved ones, or of anything else. And I am forever grateful. Photo taken at Camp Breastie. We wore floral. We stood in front of flowers. Breastie camouflage legit. I'll be posting more about my actual reconstruction choices in my stories today :) stay tuned ♡

Resharing the story of my incredible friend Amy today @amelialyn_xoxo . I would also encourage all of you to pop over to @anaonointimates and check out the video of the show this photo was taken from and hear more from Amy. ♡ "On April 11th, 2016, I received the phone call I had been waiting for all weekend: the results of my breast biopsy. “I’m so sorry to tell you, it’s cancer....”. I was 26 years old.

I was mourning the death of my beloved grandmother while celebrating (or at least, trying to) my acceptance to my top three Masters programs just one week before. Adding cancer to the mix felt like a cruel joke. I had one foot in the door of an exciting new life in a new city, pursuing my passion (opera and classical voice) and in one 3 minute phone call, that door was slammed shut. Bolted and barricaded.

My first diagnostic CT scan in 2016 showed a tiny 2mm speck on my left lung, which was too small to characterize then. Six months later when a rash on my mastectomy scar prompted further testing, innumerable 2mm specks were found on both lungs. I do believe I was in fact metastatic at the time of my original diagnosis.

My official metastatic diagnosis thrust me into the throes of chemotherapy. I went, kicking and screaming. Thank God for Ativan, medical marijuana, and (especially) moms! 
I struggled through chemo infusions, but I also found solace in the rhythm of treatment, gently nestled in a cocoon surrounded by loving and supportive nurses. When infusions ended and I started other active treatment for metastatic disease, I had too much time to sort through the rubble of the last 5 months of my life. How does one accept a terminal diagnosis while their peers begin careers, begin families, begin the stuff of life? My mental health declined greatly (hospital visits, outpatient programs, medication, and lots of therapy followed). Managing my mental health and wellness has become inextricably linked with managing my physical health. Support from loved ones and a greater sense of community fills me up when I feel empty...
(Cont in comments)

Resharing the story of my incredible friend Amy today @amelialyn_xoxo . I would also encourage all of you to pop over to @anaonointimates and check out the video of the show this photo was taken from and hear more from Amy. ♡ "On April 11th, 2016, I received the phone call I had been waiting for all weekend: the results of my breast biopsy. “I’m so sorry to tell you, it’s cancer....”. I was 26 years old. I was mourning the death of my beloved grandmother while celebrating (or at least, trying to) my acceptance to my top three Masters programs just one week before. Adding cancer to the mix felt like a cruel joke. I had one foot in the door of an exciting new life in a new city, pursuing my passion (opera and classical voice) and in one 3 minute phone call, that door was slammed shut. Bolted and barricaded. My first diagnostic CT scan in 2016 showed a tiny 2mm speck on my left lung, which was too small to characterize then. Six months later when a rash on my mastectomy scar prompted further testing, innumerable 2mm specks were found on both lungs. I do believe I was in fact metastatic at the time of my original diagnosis. My official metastatic diagnosis thrust me into the throes of chemotherapy. I went, kicking and screaming. Thank God for Ativan, medical marijuana, and (especially) moms! I struggled through chemo infusions, but I also found solace in the rhythm of treatment, gently nestled in a cocoon surrounded by loving and supportive nurses. When infusions ended and I started other active treatment for metastatic disease, I had too much time to sort through the rubble of the last 5 months of my life. How does one accept a terminal diagnosis while their peers begin careers, begin families, begin the stuff of life? My mental health declined greatly (hospital visits, outpatient programs, medication, and lots of therapy followed). Managing my mental health and wellness has become inextricably linked with managing my physical health. Support from loved ones and a greater sense of community fills me up when I feel empty... (Cont in comments)

More weeds in the beautiful garden. 
Drawn shortly after my biffle @hellodanijay found out that her cancer had returned, metastasized into her sternum.

One day out of the month of October is not enough and will never be enough to bring awareness to metastatic breast cancer. One day out of 31, worse yet one day out of 365 is never going to be enough. 
I read an article this morning which shared the stories of several living at stage IV and how they often feel treated by early stage survivors. How they aren't accepted because their stories aren't positive. How people don't want to know. I honestly can't think of anything more positive than all of us working together towards an actual cure. Pushing every single day for more actual research. More clinical trials. More outliers. Anything to help keep more people from being added to this statistic is a positive. What's not positive is pretending things that are scary don't exist. It's leaving too many in the dark. And it's unacceptable. .
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#StageIV
#StageIVneedsmore #stageivbreastcancer #metastaticbreastcancer #thisismbc #breastcancer #fuckcancer #thisisnotpink #livingwithmbc #curenow #pinktober #metastaticbreastcancerawarenessday #mbcawarenessday #elephantintheroom #researchsaveslives #breastcancerawareness #breastcanceractionmonth #breastcancerawarenessmonth

More weeds in the beautiful garden. Drawn shortly after my biffle @hellodanijay found out that her cancer had returned, metastasized into her sternum. One day out of the month of October is not enough and will never be enough to bring awareness to metastatic breast cancer. One day out of 31, worse yet one day out of 365 is never going to be enough. I read an article this morning which shared the stories of several living at stage IV and how they often feel treated by early stage survivors. How they aren't accepted because their stories aren't positive. How people don't want to know. I honestly can't think of anything more positive than all of us working together towards an actual cure. Pushing every single day for more actual research. More clinical trials. More outliers. Anything to help keep more people from being added to this statistic is a positive. What's not positive is pretending things that are scary don't exist. It's leaving too many in the dark. And it's unacceptable. . . . . . .  #StageIV  #StageIVneedsmore  #stageivbreastcancer  #metastaticbreastcancer  #thisismbc  #breastcancer  #fuckcancer  #thisisnotpink  #livingwithmbc  #curenow  #pinktober  #metastaticbreastcancerawarenessday  #mbcawarenessday  #elephantintheroom  #researchsaveslives  #breastcancerawareness  #breastcanceractionmonth  #breastcancerawarenessmonth

PSA
Our bodies. Our choice. How we feel about them. What words we use to describe then. How we live in them. ♡
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#psa #womensbodies #mybodymychoice #womenshealth #lifteachotherup #bilateralmastectomy #mastectomy #scarsarebeautiful #femaleempowerment #femaleform #loveyourself #loveyourbody

PSA Our bodies. Our choice. How we feel about them. What words we use to describe then. How we live in them. ♡ . . . . . .  #psa  #womensbodies  #mybodymychoice  #womenshealth  #lifteachotherup  #bilateralmastectomy  #mastectomy  #scarsarebeautiful  #femaleempowerment  #femaleform  #loveyourself  #loveyourbody

I shared this last year on Valentine's Day. Last year my amazing, badass friend Emily @emilyrgarnett aka @beyondthepinkribbon rocked down the runway at NYFW and then a day later was back in scrub attire with a hair net on waiting for a bone biopsy. At which point she sent me the selfie I turned into this. 
Metastatic Breast Cancer does not care how normal you may look, how glammed up you may get, what amazing things you do with your days, it will always be there in the background. And the sea of Pink is not getting us away from that any faster. 
2-5%of overall money raised through all this pink BS  going towards research on Stage IV is not enough. Not by miles. 
We need better. Now. .
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#cancersucks #stageivcancer
#stageivbreastcancer
#StageIVneedsmore #MetastaticBC #MetastaticBreastCancer #BreastCancer #pinktober #ThisIsMBC #thisisnotpink #curenow #pinktober #breastcancerawareness #thrivers #thriving #melanielynnpenndesign #herstory #elephantinthepinkroom room #breastcancerthriver #fuckcancer #riseup #lineart #wordart #digitaldrawing #researchsaveslives #biopsy #bonebiopsy #treatablenotcurable

I shared this last year on Valentine's Day. Last year my amazing, badass friend Emily @emilyrgarnett aka @beyondthepinkribbon rocked down the runway at NYFW and then a day later was back in scrub attire with a hair net on waiting for a bone biopsy. At which point she sent me the selfie I turned into this. Metastatic Breast Cancer does not care how normal you may look, how glammed up you may get, what amazing things you do with your days, it will always be there in the background. And the sea of Pink is not getting us away from that any faster. 2-5%of overall money raised through all this pink BS going towards research on Stage IV is not enough. Not by miles. We need better. Now. . . . .  #cancersucks  #stageivcancer  #stageivbreastcancer  #StageIVneedsmore  #MetastaticBC  #MetastaticBreastCancer  #BreastCancer  #pinktober  #ThisIsMBC  #thisisnotpink  #curenow  #pinktober  #breastcancerawareness  #thrivers  #thriving  #melanielynnpenndesign  #herstory  #elephantinthepinkroom room  #breastcancerthriver  #fuckcancer  #riseup  #lineart  #wordart  #digitaldrawing  #researchsaveslives  #biopsy  #bonebiopsy  #treatablenotcurable

So @anaonointimates posted this wonderful image and a great post with it this morning. And I had shared this as a story earlier. But so many people replied to it today with things women had said to them that I felt the need to share it permenantly here in my feed. 
I share stories so women can find common threads between one another. So they can feel less alone. So they can find at least one other person who has been through the same things they have. And maybe so those who need to can gain some empathy. 
Let's pull one another out of the pile of garbage instead of piling more on top. ♡
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#neveralone #breastcancer #ovariancancer #gynecologicalcancer #strongertogether #girltribe #ladytribe #bilateralmastectomy #mastectomy #lumpectomy #radiationtherapy #chemo #fuckcancer #brca #pten #chek2 #mutantandproud #geneticmutation #cancersucks #thriver #survivor #previvor #reconstructivesurgery #noreconstruction #flataf #womenshealth

So @anaonointimates posted this wonderful image and a great post with it this morning. And I had shared this as a story earlier. But so many people replied to it today with things women had said to them that I felt the need to share it permenantly here in my feed. I share stories so women can find common threads between one another. So they can feel less alone. So they can find at least one other person who has been through the same things they have. And maybe so those who need to can gain some empathy. Let's pull one another out of the pile of garbage instead of piling more on top. ♡ . . . . .  #neveralone  #breastcancer  #ovariancancer  #gynecologicalcancer  #strongertogether  #girltribe  #ladytribe  #bilateralmastectomy  #mastectomy  #lumpectomy  #radiationtherapy  #chemo  #fuckcancer  #brca  #pten  #chek2  #mutantandproud  #geneticmutation  #cancersucks  #thriver  #survivor  #previvor  #reconstructivesurgery  #noreconstruction  #flataf  #womenshealth

Continuing to re-share the stories of those living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Today brings us to this insanely amazing human that I am so proud to call friend, @e.m.wind21  aka Erin. Last month she celebrated ONE YEAR with no progression. Which is incredible and amazing and a testament to why we need to keep funding research. 
From Erin:
"Diagnosed with Stage 1B Er/Pr+ Her2- breast cancer on January 9, 2018. I had a unilateral mastectomy with expander, 8 chemo, 25 radiation and an oophorectomy. It was during my oophorectomy in September that they found breast cancer cells in my ovary. A subsequent scan found more in my pelvis, sternum, spine, rib and shoulder/joints. Making me Stage 4, as well as misdiagnosed back in January (my left ovary lit up and it was decided it was a collapsed cyst). I’ve since removed my right breast completely and started new meds for my mets."
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#thriver #metaviver #stageivneedsmore #stageiv #badasswomen #metastaticbreastcancer #chemo #radiation #strongwomen #bravewomen #bodyimage #melanielynnpenndesign #tellingyourstory #breastcancer #thisismbc #thisisnotpink #herstory #storiesbymelanielynn #fuckcancer #cancersucks #livingwithmbc #metastasis #youngbreastcancer #fighter #drawingoftheday #digitaldrawing #wordart #thoughshebebutlittlesheisfierce

Continuing to re-share the stories of those living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Today brings us to this insanely amazing human that I am so proud to call friend, @e.m.wind21 aka Erin. Last month she celebrated ONE YEAR with no progression. Which is incredible and amazing and a testament to why we need to keep funding research. From Erin: "Diagnosed with Stage 1B Er/Pr+ Her2- breast cancer on January 9, 2018. I had a unilateral mastectomy with expander, 8 chemo, 25 radiation and an oophorectomy. It was during my oophorectomy in September that they found breast cancer cells in my ovary. A subsequent scan found more in my pelvis, sternum, spine, rib and shoulder/joints. Making me Stage 4, as well as misdiagnosed back in January (my left ovary lit up and it was decided it was a collapsed cyst). I’ve since removed my right breast completely and started new meds for my mets." . . . . . . .  #thriver  #metaviver  #stageivneedsmore  #stageiv  #badasswomen  #metastaticbreastcancer  #chemo  #radiation  #strongwomen  #bravewomen  #bodyimage  #melanielynnpenndesign  #tellingyourstory  #breastcancer  #thisismbc  #thisisnotpink  #herstory  #storiesbymelanielynn  #fuckcancer  #cancersucks  #livingwithmbc  #metastasis  #youngbreastcancer  #fighter  #drawingoftheday  #digitaldrawing  #wordart  #thoughshebebutlittlesheisfierce

Just so we're clear here...some pink things are okay ♡
Finally got to meet my friends beautiful baby girl last night.  I love getting to make cute snuggly little toys and blankies for new babies 🤗🤗🤗🤗
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#newbaby #plushie #crochet #crochettoy #crochetpuppy #crochetforbaby

Just so we're clear here...some pink things are okay ♡ Finally got to meet my friends beautiful baby girl last night. I love getting to make cute snuggly little toys and blankies for new babies 🤗🤗🤗🤗 . . . .  #newbaby  #plushie  #crochet  #crochettoy  #crochetpuppy  #crochetforbaby

File this to more things I forgot I drew lately 🤣
So this is actually going to be the first of hopefully many coloring pages I do based on my Word Women. 
And I needed to de-stress so I colored it. :)
Hope y'all like it ♡
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#coloringpages #loveyourself #beyou #beyoutiful #womenshealth #femaleempowerment #discoverunder5k #discoverartists #livewithgratitude #innerstrength #digitaldrawing #wordart #colorful #figuredrawing #flowers #selflove #selfempowerment #fearlesswomen #loveyourself #loveyourbody #loveyourflaws

File this to more things I forgot I drew lately 🤣 So this is actually going to be the first of hopefully many coloring pages I do based on my Word Women. And I needed to de-stress so I colored it. :) Hope y'all like it ♡ . . . . . .  #coloringpages  #loveyourself  #beyou  #beyoutiful  #womenshealth  #femaleempowerment  #discoverunder5k  #discoverartists  #livewithgratitude  #innerstrength  #digitaldrawing  #wordart  #colorful  #figuredrawing  #flowers  #selflove  #selfempowerment  #fearlesswomen  #loveyourself  #loveyourbody  #loveyourflaws

As I mentioned in my stories the other week October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

From just before my 17th birthday to just after my 20th I was involved in a relationship that went from totally normal (uh. Okay. Like in theory.  But ask anyone who's left one, the little red flags were totally there, they just were tiny, not the size you'd lure a bull in with like at the end) to abusive in every possible way after the first 6 months. 
I had never really had a good relationship with my body and this destroyed whatever positive was there. 
Leaving that shit behind and moving on over the next few years saw me in and out of therapy, acquiring new piercings, cutting all my hair off for the first time in years, doing whatever felt right at the time to find my way back to me. 
A few months post mastectomy, another thing that made me have to learn to love my body again, I was chatting with a very close friend of mine, also a survivor of sexual trauma, and something kind of clicked in me. 
For months I'd been mentally collecting all the silver linings that I could to help with my emotional recovery. While this community has remained one of the best silver linings ever to me, knowing that the monsters of my past have never seen or touched my new chest is somehow comforting beyond words. 
According to the NCADV:
On average 20 people per minute are abused by their intimate partner
1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe abuse (rape, stalking, physical injury etc) at the hands of their partner
1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of abuse from their partners, often what they or other may deem "not abuse". Just because it doesn't leave you bleeding or bruised does not make it okay. 
1 in 10 women have been raped by an intimate partner. 
Women between the ages of 18-24 are at the highest risk. .
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#domesticviolence
#domesticviolenceawareness
#domesticviolenceawarenessmonth #partnerabuse #abuseisnotokay #intimatepartnerabuse #womenshealth #femaleempowerment #empoweredwomenempowerwom #loveyourself #loveyourbody #bilateralmastectomy #mastectomy #previvor #reconstructivesurgery #takingbackmybody #melanielynnpenndesign #discoverunder5k

As I mentioned in my stories the other week October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. From just before my 17th birthday to just after my 20th I was involved in a relationship that went from totally normal (uh. Okay. Like in theory. But ask anyone who's left one, the little red flags were totally there, they just were tiny, not the size you'd lure a bull in with like at the end) to abusive in every possible way after the first 6 months. I had never really had a good relationship with my body and this destroyed whatever positive was there. Leaving that shit behind and moving on over the next few years saw me in and out of therapy, acquiring new piercings, cutting all my hair off for the first time in years, doing whatever felt right at the time to find my way back to me. A few months post mastectomy, another thing that made me have to learn to love my body again, I was chatting with a very close friend of mine, also a survivor of sexual trauma, and something kind of clicked in me. For months I'd been mentally collecting all the silver linings that I could to help with my emotional recovery. While this community has remained one of the best silver linings ever to me, knowing that the monsters of my past have never seen or touched my new chest is somehow comforting beyond words. According to the NCADV: On average 20 people per minute are abused by their intimate partner 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe abuse (rape, stalking, physical injury etc) at the hands of their partner 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of abuse from their partners, often what they or other may deem "not abuse". Just because it doesn't leave you bleeding or bruised does not make it okay. 1 in 10 women have been raped by an intimate partner. Women between the ages of 18-24 are at the highest risk. . . . . .  #domesticviolence  #domesticviolenceawareness  #domesticviolenceawarenessmonth  #partnerabuse  #abuseisnotokay  #intimatepartnerabuse  #womenshealth  #femaleempowerment  #empoweredwomenempowerwom  #loveyourself  #loveyourbody  #bilateralmastectomy  #mastectomy  #previvor  #reconstructivesurgery  #takingbackmybody  #melanielynnpenndesign  #discoverunder5k

Beginning my resharing of stories with one of the first women I drew for this project. Monica was an incredible ray of light who was stolen from us by metastatic breast cancer in April of this past year, just two months after I met her in person. Her attitude and presence in the midst of this horror will forever inspire me to work harder and push further. We must continue her drive to raise funds and awareness for stage IV breast cancer.

From Monica: "I never had an early stage breast cancer diagnosis. I felt a lump at age 33 and I was immediately diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. I remember wondering, how I am going to live with this new reality of my mortality? How can I be an example for my little daughter for the rest of my life however long it may be? I decided I wanted to “be bold and behold”. I wanted to live a life with grace and gratitude but even more so I wanted to face my fears and not let them have any control over me. I don’t have time for that. And I want to take the time to behold the beauty that is all around me. The beauty of the mundane. The beauty of the extraordinary. The beauty of humanity. 
My cancer is aggressive. I haven’t been able to stay on one treatment for more than a few months. This is why we need more treatment options and why I am so passionate about raising money for research. My husband recently told me that since my diagnosis, he has seen me become the person I always wanted to be and I never thought about it like that but I see what he means. I hope he knows how much that meant to me. " .
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#StageIV #StageIVneedsmore #stageivbreastcancer #MetastaticBreastCancer #ThisIsMBC #NYFW19 #anaonointimates #ProjectCancerland #breastcancer #Metavivor #bravewomen #strongwomen #breastcancer #empowerwomen #womenswords #empoweringwomen #womenshealth #melanielynnpenndesign #loveyourself #graceandgratitude #livinglife #MBC #stageivcancer #dontignorestageiv #NotJustOne  #thisisnotpink #pinktober

Beginning my resharing of stories with one of the first women I drew for this project. Monica was an incredible ray of light who was stolen from us by metastatic breast cancer in April of this past year, just two months after I met her in person. Her attitude and presence in the midst of this horror will forever inspire me to work harder and push further. We must continue her drive to raise funds and awareness for stage IV breast cancer. From Monica: "I never had an early stage breast cancer diagnosis. I felt a lump at age 33 and I was immediately diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. I remember wondering, how I am going to live with this new reality of my mortality? How can I be an example for my little daughter for the rest of my life however long it may be? I decided I wanted to “be bold and behold”. I wanted to live a life with grace and gratitude but even more so I wanted to face my fears and not let them have any control over me. I don’t have time for that. And I want to take the time to behold the beauty that is all around me. The beauty of the mundane. The beauty of the extraordinary. The beauty of humanity. My cancer is aggressive. I haven’t been able to stay on one treatment for more than a few months. This is why we need more treatment options and why I am so passionate about raising money for research. My husband recently told me that since my diagnosis, he has seen me become the person I always wanted to be and I never thought about it like that but I see what he means. I hope he knows how much that meant to me. " . . . . . .  #StageIV  #StageIVneedsmore  #stageivbreastcancer  #MetastaticBreastCancer  #ThisIsMBC  #NYFW19  #anaonointimates  #ProjectCancerland  #breastcancer  #Metavivor  #bravewomen  #strongwomen  #breastcancer  #empowerwomen  #womenswords  #empoweringwomen  #womenshealth  #melanielynnpenndesign  #loveyourself  #graceandgratitude  #livinglife  #MBC  #stageivcancer  #dontignorestageiv  #NotJustOne  #thisisnotpink  #pinktober

This might be the oddest photo I could have chosen to post for Previvor Day but maybe it's not. 
The other day in my intro post I mentioned bending into weird shapes lets me feel in control of my body. 
Control over my body. 
On july 2, 2018 I arrived absurdly early at a hospital and prepared to say goodbye to my breasts. After 6 years, multiple biopsies and "we should watch this" scans throughout them I was done. Sitting and waiting as long as I had was super out of character for the woman who always asks 900 questions and wants data not opinions always. I was done. I wanted to be down in the 5% risk range not the 87+% range. I wanted to get off the 6 month scan hamster wheel. I wanted to be in control again. 
5% isn't 100%. There are no guarantees in life. But with a family history where women turn 40 and get breast cancer this seemed like the better option. By miles. 
But I'm only halfway there. I still have my ovaries and tubes, still posing a threat to my health and even more a silent, hidden wait and see. I'm not quite there yet but it's likely not too far down the pipeline. Whenever that day comes I'm sure I'll overshare about that too ;)
For now I have to be grateful for what I could take control over. 
I would encourage anyone who has family history or is otherwise high risk (Ashkenazis carry brca mutations at a rate in 1/40. This rate has shown constant even among those with no family history. It hides in men sometimes for generations.) to undergo genetic testing. Knowing your options is important to having the most control you can over the unpredictable pile of cells that make up your body. Remember that even if your family is BRCA negative there are NUMEROUS other known genes that can tell you more about screening and preventative options open to you. Knowledge is crucial. Embrace it. Do not hide from it. What you don't know can still hurt you. What you ignore can kill you. .
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Ps: this photo was 3ish months post op. I underwent DTI OTM recon and stayed super close to my original size. Find a team of doctors who support a recon or lack of recon option that aligns with the rest of your life, not just their preferred surgical method.

This might be the oddest photo I could have chosen to post for Previvor Day but maybe it's not. The other day in my intro post I mentioned bending into weird shapes lets me feel in control of my body. Control over my body. On july 2, 2018 I arrived absurdly early at a hospital and prepared to say goodbye to my breasts. After 6 years, multiple biopsies and "we should watch this" scans throughout them I was done. Sitting and waiting as long as I had was super out of character for the woman who always asks 900 questions and wants data not opinions always. I was done. I wanted to be down in the 5% risk range not the 87+% range. I wanted to get off the 6 month scan hamster wheel. I wanted to be in control again. 5% isn't 100%. There are no guarantees in life. But with a family history where women turn 40 and get breast cancer this seemed like the better option. By miles. But I'm only halfway there. I still have my ovaries and tubes, still posing a threat to my health and even more a silent, hidden wait and see. I'm not quite there yet but it's likely not too far down the pipeline. Whenever that day comes I'm sure I'll overshare about that too ;) For now I have to be grateful for what I could take control over. I would encourage anyone who has family history or is otherwise high risk (Ashkenazis carry brca mutations at a rate in 1/40. This rate has shown constant even among those with no family history. It hides in men sometimes for generations.) to undergo genetic testing. Knowing your options is important to having the most control you can over the unpredictable pile of cells that make up your body. Remember that even if your family is BRCA negative there are NUMEROUS other known genes that can tell you more about screening and preventative options open to you. Knowledge is crucial. Embrace it. Do not hide from it. What you don't know can still hurt you. What you ignore can kill you. . . Ps: this photo was 3ish months post op. I underwent DTI OTM recon and stayed super close to my original size. Find a team of doctors who support a recon or lack of recon option that aligns with the rest of your life, not just their preferred surgical method.

It's that time of year again. 
Hello October 1st. 
Hello wall of pink in our faces 24/7. 
Consider this your friendly reminder to please think before you pink. Donate to places that are funding RESEARCH or actively working to improve the lives of those living with breast cancer. Not just collecting money and plastering ribbons around the world. 
We are aware now. And some of us are literally dying for a cure. 
Keep sharing your truths and your stories.
Keep sharing reality. 
Keep making it so people cannot look away. 
Thank you again to @kangell82 for letting me use her likeness for this piece I did last year. .
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#pinktober #breastcancer #cancersucks #livingwithmbc #metastaticbreastcancer #thisismbc #thisisnotpink #fuckcancer #weareaware #breastcancersurvivor #thriver #previvor #survivor #pinkwashing #researchsaveslives #1in8 #1in3 #youngbreastcancer

It's that time of year again. Hello October 1st. Hello wall of pink in our faces 24/7. Consider this your friendly reminder to please think before you pink. Donate to places that are funding RESEARCH or actively working to improve the lives of those living with breast cancer. Not just collecting money and plastering ribbons around the world. We are aware now. And some of us are literally dying for a cure. Keep sharing your truths and your stories. Keep sharing reality. Keep making it so people cannot look away. Thank you again to @kangell82 for letting me use her likeness for this piece I did last year. . . . .  #pinktober  #breastcancer  #cancersucks  #livingwithmbc  #metastaticbreastcancer  #thisismbc  #thisisnotpink  #fuckcancer  #weareaware  #breastcancersurvivor  #thriver  #previvor  #survivor  #pinkwashing  #researchsaveslives  #1in8  #1in3  #youngbreastcancer

So this badass, @tough_titties_ny , aka my amazing friend Danielle is such an inspiration to me. 
We first met when she reached out to me after my mastectomy to ask me if I also felt like the baddest bitch in the world now. And I was like uh yas queen I do. ♡ We finally met in person on BRA day of last year and she is seriously just one of my favorite humans.  And right now she's in the middle of celebrating her body with 30 days of yoga at 30 studios.  And her amazing drive got me onto my mat, with a laptop open and a yoga stream going for the first time in a very very long time. (And she looks so cute in my flat goddess tank!) I found out Friday that while my eye is drastically improving it's going to be a LOT longer before I'm actually able to get back up in the air and this triggered a massive "I miss my old body" crisis breakdown. Via text. To my husband. Sorry babe. 🤦‍♀️ All these surgeries so many of us have had  and then this arbitrary nonsense with my retina have shoved me into a place where trusting my body has been very very hard. Yesterday I reshared one of my favorite quote memes stating that exercise should really be about celebrating what your body can do. And after what mine has been through in the last year I'm very grateful it's cooperating with me at all. So time to accept what it is for the moment and like the yoga instructor said...lean in to what my body needs now. 
How are you showing your body love today?

And if you aren't following Danielle's yoga journey go check it out! You might get inspired yourself ♡
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#yoga #yogajournal #yogajourney #yogapractice #morningflow #hipopener #loveyourself #loveyourbody #empowerwomen #empoweringwomen #womenshealth #femaleempowerment #discoverunder5k #livewithgratitude #innerstrength #previvor #postmastectomyfitness #mastectomy #scarsarebeautiful #bilateralmastectomy #prepectoralreconstruction #breastreconstruction #herstory #melanielynnpenndesign #selflovesunday

So this badass, @tough_titties_ny , aka my amazing friend Danielle is such an inspiration to me. We first met when she reached out to me after my mastectomy to ask me if I also felt like the baddest bitch in the world now. And I was like uh yas queen I do. ♡ We finally met in person on BRA day of last year and she is seriously just one of my favorite humans. And right now she's in the middle of celebrating her body with 30 days of yoga at 30 studios. And her amazing drive got me onto my mat, with a laptop open and a yoga stream going for the first time in a very very long time. (And she looks so cute in my flat goddess tank!) I found out Friday that while my eye is drastically improving it's going to be a LOT longer before I'm actually able to get back up in the air and this triggered a massive "I miss my old body" crisis breakdown. Via text. To my husband. Sorry babe. 🤦‍♀️ All these surgeries so many of us have had and then this arbitrary nonsense with my retina have shoved me into a place where trusting my body has been very very hard. Yesterday I reshared one of my favorite quote memes stating that exercise should really be about celebrating what your body can do. And after what mine has been through in the last year I'm very grateful it's cooperating with me at all. So time to accept what it is for the moment and like the yoga instructor said...lean in to what my body needs now. How are you showing your body love today? And if you aren't following Danielle's yoga journey go check it out! You might get inspired yourself ♡ . . . . .  #yoga  #yogajournal  #yogajourney  #yogapractice  #morningflow  #hipopener  #loveyourself  #loveyourbody  #empowerwomen  #empoweringwomen  #womenshealth  #femaleempowerment  #discoverunder5k  #livewithgratitude  #innerstrength  #previvor  #postmastectomyfitness  #mastectomy  #scarsarebeautiful  #bilateralmastectomy  #prepectoralreconstruction  #breastreconstruction  #herstory  #melanielynnpenndesign  #selflovesunday

Hello everyone ♡
So it occurred to me I haven't introduced myself lately and a lot of new people are following soo...hi!
I'm Melanie I'm a 32 year old technical designer in NY. Married to the best human ever for 5 years together for almost 10 ♡ 
I found out I was BRCA1+ when I was 25 years old. I talked to no one for 5.5 years about this then found support thanks to Insta. July 2, 2018 I underwent a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with immediate over muscle implant recon. My mother had breast cancer when I was 4, was in the BRCA gene studies. Mom is a 27 year survivor, she's my super woman forever.
 I've been creating art for as long as I can remember and with trauma entering my life quite early it has always been my favorite form of release. 
For almost a year now I've been collecting stories from women and turning them into portraits. Sharing other women's struggles and victories has helped me heal myself and I hope others as well. I was always more interested in 3D arts and have a BFA in metal smithing (seriously.) Drawing was never my thing and  seeped into my life during all my surgeries this year. I started hand drawing again for the first time in years while recovering from a scleral buckle in May that made it impossible to look at a screen.
I like bending into weird shapes and being upside down. Exercising extreme control over my body's ability to bend etc makes me feel like I'm free again in a body I struggle to trust. 
My diet is about 90% vegetarian. I love fruits and veggies, I also love disgusting artificial crap like sour patch kids. They're their own food group. 
I'm a lot more fem than I tend to let on but I keep my girlie side to myself. 
I have a lot of social anxiety, I can suppress it at smaller events but I will avoid massive gatherings and huge packed rooms like the plague. One on one I'm golden. And an open book. I rarely ever censor myself and I think we need to normalize standing up for ourselves and talking about the uncomfortable things no one wants to hear but need to be said. 
Ive got 7 piercings. No tatts
I believe science and data are everything.
I'm a bit of a Darwinist

Questions? Happy to answer below!
Love to all 
Xo
Mel

Hello everyone ♡ So it occurred to me I haven't introduced myself lately and a lot of new people are following soo...hi! I'm Melanie I'm a 32 year old technical designer in NY. Married to the best human ever for 5 years together for almost 10 ♡ I found out I was BRCA1+ when I was 25 years old. I talked to no one for 5.5 years about this then found support thanks to Insta. July 2, 2018 I underwent a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with immediate over muscle implant recon. My mother had breast cancer when I was 4, was in the BRCA gene studies. Mom is a 27 year survivor, she's my super woman forever. I've been creating art for as long as I can remember and with trauma entering my life quite early it has always been my favorite form of release. For almost a year now I've been collecting stories from women and turning them into portraits. Sharing other women's struggles and victories has helped me heal myself and I hope others as well. I was always more interested in 3D arts and have a BFA in metal smithing (seriously.) Drawing was never my thing and seeped into my life during all my surgeries this year. I started hand drawing again for the first time in years while recovering from a scleral buckle in May that made it impossible to look at a screen. I like bending into weird shapes and being upside down. Exercising extreme control over my body's ability to bend etc makes me feel like I'm free again in a body I struggle to trust. My diet is about 90% vegetarian. I love fruits and veggies, I also love disgusting artificial crap like sour patch kids. They're their own food group. I'm a lot more fem than I tend to let on but I keep my girlie side to myself. I have a lot of social anxiety, I can suppress it at smaller events but I will avoid massive gatherings and huge packed rooms like the plague. One on one I'm golden. And an open book. I rarely ever censor myself and I think we need to normalize standing up for ourselves and talking about the uncomfortable things no one wants to hear but need to be said. Ive got 7 piercings. No tatts I believe science and data are everything. I'm a bit of a Darwinist Questions? Happy to answer below! Love to all Xo Mel

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