Breast Cancer Scrapbook

For some time now, I contemplated writing an article on how to create a breast cancer scrapbook, but wasn't quite sure how to approach such a personal and sensitive subject.

Recently, a fellow scrapper approached me about this very topic as she begins, as she so eloquently put it, her "breast cancer journey."

I welcome and encourage anyone touched by breast cancer to contribute to this article, so other scrappers facing a similar situation can benefit from your ideas and create their own breast cancer scrapbook - such as this great page on Facebook. Please submit these ideas and suggestions using the form at the bottom of this page and I will incorporate them as quickly as possible.

The following are ideas on how to start a breast cancer scrapbook:

Dedication/Table of Contents

As with any difficult situation, use this as an opportunity to document, preserve and share your "journey" – not only with fellow patients, but also with family and friends. They represent your moral support during this journey.

Begin your scrapbook with a dedication or table of contents page. Indicate why you're making a breast cancer scrapbook and what you hope to accomplish.

You may also take this as an opportunity to layout how you will organize the scrapbook – most likely in a chronological order as you experience this "chapter of your life."

If you choose to simply make it a dedication page, you could use a format similar to the sketch I created for a family recipe scrapbook (click here to see sketch).

Warning Signs/Diagnosis

Journaling can take up two pages or be limited to one, depending on how much you write. Since this is going to be primarily text, you may want to use a cardstock monogram to start off your journaling. Here are a few questions to get you thinking…

  • When did you first think/notice there was something wrong?
  • When (what day) were you diagnosed?
  • What were your first thoughts after being diagnosed?
  • Who was the first person you told?
  • This is very much like the "Where were you when we landed on the moon?" situation. You will always remember the time, place and what you felt.

    "My Pledge to Me"

    A pledge or a promise, it doesn't have to be long.

    Write a few motivational sentences to yourself – you WILL fight, you WILL stay strong and you WILL have the courage to persevere. If you can't think of a pledge, use song lyrics or a poem that you like.

    Let this be your mantra. I know it seems kind of corny, but whenever you get down and think that you don't have the strength to carry on, come back to your breast cancer scrapbook and read this page.

    "This is Me" – Then and Now

    As with any life-altering experience, we have a tendency to look at life a little differently. Nothing is taken for granted and even the little things in life have more meaning.

    Use your breast cancer scrapbook as an opportunity to take a look at your life – your likes, dislikes, hobbies, etc. and contrast that against how you would like to live your life in the future.

  • Are you going to take the time to travel more often?
  • Do you want to learn a new skill or craft, maybe take on the challenge of going back to school?
  • Would you like to rekindle old friendships?
  • A Family History

    This may not apply to everyone, but did/does your Grandmother, Mother, Sister and/or Aunt have breast cancer? What was their experience like?

    Use this as an opportunity to celebrate the special people in your life with a dedicated scrapbook layout. How did they approach their battle with breast cancer? What did you learn as a result of their experience and how will you apply it to your own?

    Prayer Pages

    While it is very easy to get consumed with worry over what the future will bring, it's your family and friends that will help you through this, so why not preserve their well wishes on one or more scrapbook pages.

  • Cards and e-mails can all fit on a scrapbook page. You can design a little pocket on your page to hold them all.
  • If you've received any flower arrangements, dry one or more of the flowers to put on the page or take pictures of those you receive.
  • Also, if people come to visit you, have them leave their signature on a piece of cardstock that doubles as a guest book.
  • Much like your "pledge," the sight of these mementos will help give you strength and comfort.

    I hope these ideas help you to build a breast cancer scrapbook that is a reflection of your strength and courage. I also, again, invite you to send me any of your ideas that you may have to add. Just fill out this form below!