VIDEO

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Soccer Superstars Western New York Flash – The Pink Game

The Western NY Flash are delighted to announce a landmark two-year partnership with The Cancer Couch Foundation, a not-for-profit that works to fund high-impact research for metastatic breast cancer (MBC). The sponsorship is part of the Flash’s commitment to aligning with health and wellness issues that directly impact women and their communities.

Soccer Superstars Western New York Flash – The Pink Game

AUDIO

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Fighting cancer with @CancerCouch founder Dr. Rebecca Timlin-Scalera

For Dr. Rebecca Timlin-Scalera who had a healthy lifestyle with no history of cancer, a Stage 4 diagnosis of breast cancer was a complete shock. She was upgraded to Stage 3C, learned about the lack of funding and poor prognosis for Stage 4, and created The Cancer Couch Foundation to raise money for cancer research to help those who have metastatic breast cancer (Stage 4).

Originally aired on Caregiver SOS: On Air presented by the WellMed Charitable Foundation on July 10, 2016, in San Antonio, TX on 930 AM KLUP “The Answer.” With co-hosts Carol Zernial and Ron Aaron.

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Interview with KOGA-AM Midwest Opinions – May 16, 2016

I had a great interview with Midwest Opinions about The Cancer Couch Foundation and my experiences. My interview begins at the 31:36 timecode! Check it out here:

ARTICLES

I Breasted!…My Surgical Success Turning Love Handles Into Love-Ly Curves

This past October I wrote a piece entitled “To Breast Or Not To Breast,” in which I described the psychological trauma of losing my breasts to cancer, followed swiftly by the loss of part of my colon, followed by the loss of my spankin’ new implants for good measure, just in case I hadn’t gotten the, “It’s your turn to go through some s&^%” memo from the universe. Within 6 weeks of receiving a devastating advanced breast cancer diagnosis, I underwent 3 surgeries, was completely mutilated from my navel to my neck, had an ostomy bag and drains hanging off me, and was in such shock I could not even look directly at my scarred chest for days following the implant removal. The shrink in me dubs this “titrating the trauma.” I was facing my new reality in small doses and allowing myself time to work up to handling the full impact of the situation.

After all this demolition, along with chemo, radiation and more abdominal surgery – I was really looking forward to reconstruction surgery and putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. However, implants again after radiation was not ideal and the use of my abdomen for tissue to make new breasts was, in my case, not an option. I feared that no matter how important this was to me, reconstruction might not be possible. Although many women choose to remain “breastless” after mastectomy, and this is such a personal choice, it was important to me to reconstruct – and I did not want that choice taken away from me after so much already had been.

Then I met Dr. David Greenspun and found my ray of hope. He spent two hours going over my options with me, discussing possible risks and benefits to each procedure, and ultimately concluded that the best reconstruction surgery for me was a Lumbar Artery Perforator (LAP) flap procedure. He described this as taking tissue out of the lumbar area (usually known as love handles even though no one loves them), and re-purposing it to make breasts with the added benefit of accentuating the curvature of the lower feminine back. I call that recycling at its absolute finest. Sounds like a dream right – whittling your waist down, putting that fat where your breasts should be, and lifting your butt?!

This seemed like a great choice, but I was confused because I am thinish to average weight and many women (same or larger than me) told me their doctors said they were “too thin” for flap surgery. Well, you can understand why I was mildly offended when Dr. Greenspun didn’t miss a beat taking one look at me and saying, “No problem – you’ve got plenty.” Um, seriously? He could have at least pretended to have to think about it right? Act like it was a tough call? That would have been the polite thing to do. But..he was right. I have been absolutely amazed at how much tissue he was able to “re-purpose” from my back to my front – where was that all hiding?!

So we did it. Well, he did it. I just laid there unconscious and woke up with one, then two breasts and a much tinier waist to boot. These are awfully nice perks after the hell that cancer and complications have reigned down on my body. However, before you all go running to sign up for this deal, you should know that nothing comes that easily. Nobody would trade in their perfectly healthy breasts for ones made out of love handles. The operations are definitely complex and carry some risks…and my scars do look a bit like I was a magician’s assistant who didn’t fold up quite well enough in the box. However, in the hands of a very experienced surgeon – who specializes in this type of procedure – the risk benefit ratio is very acceptable.

After each of my surgeries I spent 3 nights in the hospital for monitoring, but by the next morning I was eating breakfast and walking around within a day. With a little help from the awesome Greenwich Hospital nurses, I was even able to take a shower before I left. I then had a comfortable recovery at home, and was able to get back to driving a bit the following week. Don’t get me wrong – you are not doing much for a few weeks. However, I was lucky enough to have my mom stay with me to help with the kids, and the pain is totally manageable. Since I can put my feet up, eat bon bons and binge watch TV with the best of them – I did great (and am fully up to speed on The Affair, The OA, and The Leah Remini Scientology Documentary by the way).

I should mention that tissue taken from the love handle area is more complex than flaps taken from the abdomen, but for women like me for whom that wasn’t an option – this was a great ‘back’ up (pun intended). While flaps from the abdomen are done with both breasts at the same time, the lumbar flaps are done one breast and one love handle at a time. Therefore, there is a month in between the two surgeries during which you are sporting just the one breast (and still have the one love handle). Of course I could have worn a prosthetic to even it out – as many people do permanently. However, I usually didn’t bother. In fact, so many people did double takes when I was out in public with the drains and the unibreast – that I thought about having a t-shirt made up that read, “Pardon my appearance while I am under construction.”

My surgeon took this pic in his office one week

after my lap surgery– It shows the contour of my

back that was defined from taking the tissue there

So the question I wrestled with before, and that I’m being asked repeatedly now that this is behind me, is…Was it all worth it?! To this I say…HELL YES! My amazing surgeon Dr. David Greenspun, whom I should really refer to as the Michelangelo of breasts, under-promised and over-delivered big time. Despite the scars, etc. they ARE carved out of gold! I DO look like Jessica Rabbit! Well, ok not exactly – but compared to what I had before, after not one but two sets of breasts were lost – it seems like it. Even though some part of me knew, but could not exactly articulate why, having breasts returned to my body would make me start to feel whole again – and in fact it really has.

I’ll never get back the body parts I lost, have any guarantee that my cancer won’t metastasize (as it was so advanced when we found it), or rid myself of the scars (inside and out) from what I’ve gone through, but I am able to begin the New Year feeling like something has finally been restored rather than taken. I now feel ready to start working on repairing the other damages that have been leveled by this disease – the ones that are a little harder to reach, and that don’t come in a C cup.

Follow your gut, if reconstruction of any kind is important to you and you have the option and access to do it – find a great surgeon like Dr. Greenspun and go for it. If not, own that too. But…look out Nicki Minaj…with the success and appeal of the LAP flap surgery for breast cancer patients, there may be a lot more ladies out there sporting those hella sexy curves you’ve cornered the market on.

Nice try cancer but, like Stella, I got my groove back.

This week, on Channel 8 WTNH in CT: I was doing a segment to promote a

breast cancer pink in the rink game this Saturday for my foundation

My best friend – since I was 6 – and I at a cancer gala one month after my second surgery.

To Breast Or Not To Breast, That Is The Question

Being that it’s October and the month of breast cancer awareness is upon us – the topic of breasts is ubiquitous to say the least. However, I’d like to give you a “peek” into the mind of a woman with breast cancer, lest you think it’s all pink ribbons and silicone up in breast cancer world. Needless to say, for many, it’s not.

I loved my breasts. I did. I really loved them. I feel like it’s kind of ok to say that now that I’ve lost them. I mean, ‘haters gonna hate’ and all, but you can’t really give a girl with breast cancer a hard time for missing the ol’ sand bags, now can you? Even after nursing two kids, bearing the impact of years of sports, and the cumulative impact of 43 years of gravity on this planet, they were still holding their own pretty damn well if I do say so myself. I had zero complaints. Well, up until one of them became filled with advanced, aggressive cancer tumors, and the other was brewing something as well. There’s that. Then yes, I had quite a few complaints actually and a thousand questions. How could they betray me like this? No family history, regular check ups, mammograms, ultrasounds, and daily self-checks – yes daily! How did this happen?

So, we had to part ways. There was really no choice in the matter. I had to pretty darn quickly come to terms with this (on top of receiving an advanced cancer diagnosis!) and grieve the loss. As a shrink, I believe in processing and having proper closure to mark transitions and endings. Therefore, I sent them off with a full-blown DJ dance party and boogied down at 10am with 40 of my closest friends and family to see me off to the hospital. I was scared to death and this helped distract me from my imminent butchery. It was also my way of paying respects and honoring their time served. They were a really important part of me, and I felt they deserved a proper send off.

Before breast cancer, I was one of those women who was naturally blessed with an hour-glass figure – smallish waist, larger breasts, and ample junk in the trunk – so to speak. Again, I can say this now because, after double mastectomies, I have zero point zero breasts. Actually I have like negative breasts – because they’re kind of indented. In addition to the two craters I now sport on my chest, three major abdominal surgeries have left me with something that resembles a baby’s butt on my abdomen (I affectionately call it my ‘front butt’), and my hour-glass figure now looks more like a lumpy pear viewed sideways. Sexy!

So, I am on the precipice of trying to regain some semblance of my old body, but at a potentially huge cost. After facing a life-threatening breast cancer diagnosis, undergoing 4 months of chemo, 25 rounds of radiation, a perforated colon, 4 surgeries, and 8 hospitalizations in 9 months– I know very well that I am just lucky to be alive. Those that love me echo this sentiment and do not want to see me go through any more pain, hospitalizations, risks of surgery, drains, or precious time away from my kids, to undergo reconstruction – or what they call “elective” surgery – but is it elective? It doesn’t feel that way. It feels 100 percent, completely necessary to being whole again – to me.

In my case, due to a number of medical issues, “reconstruction” will require at least two 8-10 hour surgeries during which I will be carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey and undergo complex micro vascular surgery. Coincidentally, the first of these is scheduled for November. Gobble gobble.

I understand that every surgery carries risks, and I also know the subsequent pain and failure rate involved with these procedures. I have been warned by many breast cancer patients who have been down this road to “just leave well enough alone.” Well, if only it were that easy for me. I know many women who have opted not to “re-breast” and forego reconstruction. However, this is so personal and we have complicated relationships with our breasts, don’t we? They are not necessarily functional body parts like a hand or leg, I get that. Yet they must serve some really vital purpose for me if I am willing to go through all this to get them back. The question is, what is it and is it worth it? I keep asking myself the “shrink” question, what I would ask a patient struggling with this, why do I need them to feel whole again?

Well, my response as a patient would be: It was an excruciatingly traumatic process waking up and having them gone. First I had implants put in which were substantially smaller than my “real breasts.” This was odd because it usually goes the other way. It was a big adjustment to get used to those smaller, not-my-own, perfectly shaped spheres I kept looking down at. However, I barely had time to get used to the “new B cups” before my colon burst – and I woke up from a 6 hour emergency surgery with an ostomy bag on top of the fake breasts and drains. I felt and looked like a mutilated Barbie doll from Sid’s bedroom in the movie Toy Story. To follow up all that excitement,, both breasts got infected, and it was decided the implants had to come out. Goodbye fake B’s. That is when the psychological s&*^ hit the fan.

When I awoke from that surgery (my 3rd in 4 weeks), now more than 20 pounds thinner than I have been in my entire adult life, with an ostomy bag attached to my abdomen for bowel movements, and now cratered areas with drains, blood, bandages, and slashes of new stitches where my breasts, then implants, had been, I hit a new low in my breast cancer “process.“ I was numb and so depressed. I felt deformed, robbed, stripped, so vastly… “different” from my previous self – the only self I’ve ever known. Despite having to change bandages and empty drains several times a day, I somehow managed to not actually look at my chest for 3 days after that surgery. I couldn’t. I literally could not. I had to titrate the trauma I was going through at that point in time and this was something I just wasn’t mentally prepared to face, yet.

While sill in the hospital – I asked my sister to secure a bra and prosthetics for me immediately so that I would not have to be without something “there” in public, ever. There was something about other people seeing what had happened to me that was particularly bothersome. It made me feel weak, vulnerable, scared, as if I’d somehow let cancer get the best of me. I’d had my breasts cut off and I felt like everyone would just see that and think of that the second they saw me – it felt so invasive, personal, and horrifying. I also worried that people would feel bad for me and be so struck by the stark contrast of my changed figure from the previously voluptuous and fit one to what was – at that point – skeletal, deformed, and sick.

Well, between my sisters and friends, we were able to secure all manner of breast prosthetics: Knitted knockers, swimmies, skin-colored full C cups (just like mine had been), cloth C’s, cloth B’s – breasts for all occasions and moods. Here is my collection, please… let me show you my breasts, The Greatest Hits Collection:

Oh, did you really think I was going to bare my chest to a bunch of strangers? No, no. Just keeping it real and taking you through the experience of Breast Cancer World. Like I said, it’s a far cry from a “free boob job” and a pink ribbon, as many people believe. Take a good look at that picture if you will. This is seriously what I have to choose amongst every day if it is a day I want breasts (many days now I go without and have become more and more comfortable – and actually kind of proud – of what I’ve overcome, both physically and psychologically, baring my bosum-less chest). Knitted knockers – made by an incredible organization to my previous size (36C/34DD) now seem freakishly huge. The transparent ones, which I got for swimming, seem so little and make me self-conscious about my significantly changed figure. The beige ones are heavy, hot, and end up sliding around in pools of sweat, and the soft white ones – which are really for post-op use – are too light and end up moving around to weird places. I was actually on TV once doing an interview about my foundation when one of these bad girls traveled smack in the middle of my chest – right below my chin – where no boob should be, EVER.

Not that I haven’t had my share of fun with all these detachable boobies. My sisters, nieces and I got pulled over at 1am on a crazy road trip this summer to a fundraiser, and I grabbed the beige ones out of my bra, held them up and said oh don’t worry – I’ll show him my boobs to get out of the ticket. Yes I know that is a horrible, inappropriate, not-to-mention sexist joke – I know. It was also really hysterical at the time and seriously – if the ridiculousness of this situation can’t provide some comic relief once in a while then that’s really sad.

So, as you can see, I’m working through this. I’m trying to process what my breasts mean to me and why it is important enough to feel “restored” in the way I hope to following these surgeries that I am willing to take this on despite the risks and pain I know are ahead of me. I haven’t been able to fully articulate my reasons yet, but I have decided I don’t need to. I don’t need to justify this to anyone, I just know it is something I need, something I want, and something that to me, is part of my story.

Am I under the delusion that these new breasts are going to be carved out of gold or that my new “body” is going to resemble Jessica freakin’ Rabbit? No. I just want to regain more of my “self” that I feel I lost. Take another WIN back from the score cancer has settled on me. I’ll keep you posted on how the new gals turn out…

Why Metastatic Breast Cancer Research Needs More Funding

Although breast cancer research funding covers many areas of prevention and treatment, it doesn’t properly address needs for those with stage 4 cancer.

Metastatic breast cancer (MBC), also known as stage 4 cancer, is incurable and is responsible for the deaths of nearly everyone who dies from breast cancer. MBC is when the cancer has spread outside the breast to other parts of the body — typically the bones, lungs, liver or brain. A recent study estimates that as of January 2017 there are nearly 155,000 women living with MBC in the United States alone and about 25 percent of them were diagnosed at stage 4 from the beginning; the other 75 percent progressed to stage 4 from an initial earlier diagnosis.

Read the entire article at: Why Metastatic Breast Cancer Research Needs More Funding

The Cancer Couch Foundation wins $5,000 from the Harte Auto Group

Harte Auto Group Announces December “Drive with Harte” Charity Contest Winner

Harte Auto Group proudly sponsors a monthly Drive with Harte Charity Contest on Facebook. Each month, participating local charities have the opportunity to win $5000 by motivating their support network to vote on each of Harte’s facebook pages.

WEST HAVEN, Connecticut – The Harte Auto Group is proud to announce that The Cancer Couch Foundation is the winner of our December 2016 Drive with Harte Charity Contest.

Rebecca Timlin-Scalera, Ph.D., founder of The Cancer Couch Foundation, was joined by her sister Vivian Ciampi to accept the $5000 donation from Gregory and Thomas Harte at George Harte Nissan of West Haven, CT.

The Cancer Couch Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit created exclusively to raise money for research on metastatic breast cancer (MBC). To learn more about this wonderful foundation, visit thecancercouch.com

This is the seventh month of Harte’s Drive with Harte Charity Contest. A $5000.00 donation was made to the local charity, Camp Courant in June, to the Elks Lodge #1537 of West Haven in July, to the Connecticut Family Support Network of North Haven in August, to the Cheshire Community Food Pantry in September, to the Connecticut Family Support Network again in October and to the Literacy Volunteers of Greater Waterbury in November.

Visit HarteCars.com for additional information about the Harte Auto Group and the Drive with Harte Charity Contest.

About Harte Auto Group: The Harte Auto Group is a collection of dealerships in Connecticut selling primarily Nissan and Infiniti vehicles. We also proudly offer the all NEW MV-1 wheelchair accessible vehicle and a vast array of quality used cars. At Harte, we strive to make buying or leasing a new vehicle a pleasant and rewarding experience. Please visit our website, www.hartecars.com to review our extensive inventory of cars and SUVs. We work with a vast array of lending sources to make sure you will get the most complete and comprehensive financial package available. That new or used vehicle is waiting for you, so call or come visit us today!

Original Article: http://patch.com/connecticut/cheshire/cancer-couch-foundation-wins-5-000-harte-auto-group-0

Fairfield Doctor Says Metastatic Breast Cancer Sufferers Need More Support

Dr. Rebecca Timlin-Scalera, a neuropsychologist, experienced a “reversal of fortune” that changed everything.

Last fall, when her family life and private practice were thriving, she learned she had breast cancer. Results of a PET scan led her doctor to believe that the cancer had metastasized and spread to her bones.

“He said the average

[life expectancy] is 3 years,” remembers this Fairfield mother of two kids, ages 7 and 11. “Your future just evaporates.” But, miraculously, a follow-up test was clear. Timlin-Scalera fell to her knees, crying, “Thank God,” before realizing other women in the doctor’s waiting room couldn’t celebrate the same news.

She pledged to make a difference for those suffering from metastatic breast cancer, the most severe form of the disease.

“I am fighting for all of those people who are already at Stage 4,” says Timlin-Scalera who is 44 years old. “There’s this whole group — this whole community of people living with metastatic breast cancer — who are not so silently shouting, ‘We need to be heard; there’s not a cure for this.'”

She believes most money raised for breast cancer research supports prevention and awareness. So she founded The Cancer Couch Foundation, a privately funded, volunteer-run effort, to support research projects for MBC at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Both institutions will match — or partially match — dollars raised.

“We can put money into research to find treatments that will make metastatic breast cancer a chronic, manageable condition,” says Timlin-Scalera.

The foundation is hosting fundraisers — such as The Cancer Beat — a benefit concert featuring the band the English Beat, coming up on Sept. 10. Kids can also get involved by planning a Last Day of School Ice Cream Eating Contest. In Fairfield last June, dozens of children raised more than $20,000 to support the cause.

As school starts, Timlin-Scalera hopes more communities will take-part in this campaign. The foundation’s web site, thecancercouch.com, also features a blog from Timlin-Scalera, offering “wit and wisdom from both sides of the sofa.” Timlin-Scalera’s posts are candid and full of gratitude: “I see the light shining in a different way. What it shines on is love and humor. Those are the important things.”

After a double mastectomy and the removal of her lymph nodes, Timlin-Scalera recently finished chemotherapy and radiation. She is protecting her future through frequent check-ups, daily hormone therapy and passionate work with the Foundation.

Her practice is on hold while she advocates for all patients, including mothers with small children, like herself — giving them the gift of time. “I want to be on one of those chairs on my front porch with a crazy hat on when I’m 90 — not caring,” says Timlin-Scalera with passion. “I want 50 years. Everybody should have a chance at that.”

Flash pushing for playoff spot and fighting cancer

There’s a lot riding on the Western New York Flash’s match Saturday night at Rhinos Stadium against the Houston Dash.

It is WNY’s first match in nearly a month because the National Women’s Soccer League went on hiatus during the Olympics. The Flash have only five games left and after Saturday they’re all on the road. WNY (8-5-2) has missed the playoffs the past two years, but it’s in good shape. The top four teams make the postseason and WNY is in third place with 26 points, one ahead Chicago and four clear of fifth-place Sky Blue FC.

Although head coach Paul Riley’s team must travel to NWSL leader Washington (32 points) and second-place Portland (29 points), it’s other two matches are at last-place Boston (2-11-1), a team it has outscored 11-1 in two wins. WNY played to a 3-3 tie at Houston on July 27, its last match prior to the Olympic break.

Most players from both teams who played in the Olympics are back, including WNY’s Samantha Mewis and Houston’s Morgan Brian of the U.S. national team, but Dash star Carli Lloyd is not expected to play.

Beyond the playoff chase, Saturday’s 7 p.m. start is also the club’s annual “Pink” game, a fundraiser for breast cancer research. The Flash have generated nearly $30,000 the past two years, and this season they’ve partner with a new beneficiary, “The Cancer Couch.”

It’s a new non-profit organization founded by Rebecca Timlin-Scalera, 44, a neuropsychologist from Connecticut whose husband, Tom Scalera, is an Irondequoit native and 1989 graduate of McQuaid. The couple has two children: daughter, Bella, 11, and son, Luca, 7.

The foundation’s name is a word play off Rebecca’s profession. WNY and players for ninth-place Houston (3-8-3) will each wear jerseys and T-shirts Saturday that will be raffled. Players also have designed gift baskets, including some with their own soccer gear, to be raffled.

Timlin-Scalera was diagnosed with Stage IV or metastatic breast cancer (MBC) last September. She said one in eight women will develop some form of breast cancer and 30 percent of them will eventually get to the metastatic stage, which means it has spread to other organs.

Fortunately, her initial diagnosis was wrong and she was upgraded to Stage IIIC. That meant she has a much better chance to beat cancer, and following months of treatment her recent scans are clear. But she’s driven to help others, especially those in Stage IV.

“(Most) money that goes to breast cancer research goes into prevention and awareness campaigns, which have their place and are so vital,” said Timlin-Scalera, a former Division I soccer player at Fairfield University. “We need to change the narrative of breast cancer and include people who are dying from it.”

The hope: Stage IV becomes something that’s manageable and not a death sentence.

Part of the money raised Saturday will go to research, but some will also help MBC patients at Strong Memorial Hospital. It’ll help them get treatment they need and help pay for it.

Timlin-Scalera said most patients after being diagnosed are given three years or less to live. By launching her foundation and blog at www.thecancercouch.com she has been able to help and connect with others. That includes Susan Rahn, 46, a Rochester woman who has been battling MBC since August of 2013. Rahn is a family friend of Timlin-Scalera’s father-in-law.

“I’ve learned that you have to find out what helps you cope and I think that’s different for everybody,” said Timlin-Scalera, who is expected to be at Saturday’s match.

“For me, what helped me cope with all of that was doing something about it. Starting the foundation, getting involved, connecting with other people that have metastatic breast cancer and trying to be a voice for them as well is actually helping me. It’s helping me cope. It’s helping me feel proactive so that wherever this thing goes with me and cancer at least I will know that I gave it everything I had.”

JDIVERON@Gannett.com

Doctor creates blog, foundation following breast cancer diagnosis

Dr. Rebecca Timlin-Scalera created a blog to share her experiences with breast cancer and to help those affected by the disease.

Along with the blog, she created a foundation to hep those in need. Dr. Timlin-Scalera’s foundation, The Cancer Couch Foundation, is set up to exclusively fund research focused on accelerating treatment for breast cancer.

She will be at the Western New York Flash pink game at the end of August to support those suffering with the disease.

Tune In…

On August 3rd – Rebecca will be featured on Better Connecticut – WFSB Channel 3

I am so excited to meet and talk with Scot Haney to share the great things our foundation has coming up and what we have already accomplished! I will be talking about my perspective as a cancer patient, and hopefully raising awareness about the need for a shift in the breast cancer narrative away from just prevention and more toward actual treatment for those who are living with Stage 4.

Named one of The 25 Most Intriguing People …

Rebecca Timlin-Scalera, Ph.D. named one of Fairfield’s 25 most intriguing people in Fairfield Magazine Jul/Aug 2016 edition.

Do I have to mention that Fairfield only has 26 people in it? 🙂 Ha! My lovely friends, Andrea and Stephanie, secretly nominated me for this honor and low and behold – I returned from a trip to find the magazine with this piece in my mailbox! Thanks ladies – I will keep working hard to change the dialogue and shift the focus of breast cancer to much needed research for metastatic breast cancer because I simply cannot NOT do this work. I cannot sit by while 40,000 more die each year from this disease. Thank you for supporting me in this mission! I hope I can live up to this honor.

Cancer Couch Foundation Presents Saugatuck Scoops Challenge Fundraiser – Fairfield Sun; June 16, 2016

rebecca-hd

RebeccaTimlin-Scalera has raised more than $60,000 in seven weeks for The Cancer Couch Foundation.

Her initial goal for the Scoops Challenge was $6,400, but then raised it to $15,000, then again to $17,000 as The Cancer Couch Foundation kept surpassing these goals — the current tally is $17,153 and still going.

Rebecca Timlin-Scalera’s life changed on September 3, 2015 when she heard the shocking words: “You have cancer.” A wife, mother and neuropsychologist, Timlin-Scalera reacted to this news by founding The Cancer Couch Foundation (501c3) to fund research for metastatic breast cancer (MBC).

MBC is the most deadly form of the disease, and 30% of people diagnosed with early stage breast cancer eventually develop MBC. After discovering this, Timlin-Scalera decided to create a financially transparent, volunteer-managed foundation that puts donations to work directly for MBC patients.

If you know more than eight women, then breast cancer will impact your life at some point. Rebecca Timlin-Scalera, a PhD neuropsychologist and mother of two, has lived the infamous statistic — that one in eight women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. Timlin-Scalera was blindsided by an advanced breast cancer diagnosis. Initially told she had Stage II, she was then told she had Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, the most severe form of the disease. Her diagnosis was then reversed to Stage IIIC after a misdiagnosed bone biopsy.

In a matter of weeks, she went through the emotional and informational rollercoaster of experiencing nearly every stage of breast cancer before beginning treatment. Even as a medical professional, she received an eye-opening crash course into the world of breast cancer research, treatments and communities. Having looked the most deadly form of breast cancer in the face, Timlin-Scalera resolved to take a stand to help prevent and cure breast cancer by creating The Cancer Couch Foundation.

The goal is to fund research projects for metastatic breast cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and The Dana Farber Cancer Institute, with the potential for making this a chronic, but managed, condition rather than a terminal illness.

The Cancer Couch Foundation is tied to Timlin-Scalera’s website of the same name, will gather private donations in addition to hosting large-scale events to raise money for and awareness of MBC. The first of these events, “The Cancer Beat” rock concert and fundraiser with auction items including guitars signed by Bruce Springsteen and Glenn Frey, is planned for September 2016.

For more information about The Cancer Couch Foundation and Rebecca Timlin-Scalera, visit thecancercouch.com.

Dr. Rebecca Timlin-Scalera is a wife, mother and neuropsychologist, and breast cancer patient. Timlin-Scalera responded to the news of her diagnosis by founding The Cancer Couch Foundation to fund research for metastatic breast cancer. She also blogs at thecancercouch.com/ from the perspective of a psychologist turned patient with advice on how to cope through adversity by finding humor and gratitude in ordinary moments. She has been published in academic literature as well as the Visible Ink 2016 Anthology, Cosmopolitan magazine, the Associated Press and shared her opinions on Sirius Radio.

Original Article

Cancer Couch Foundation presents Saugatuck Scoops Challenge Fundraiser

Fairfield Neuropsychologist Dishes Up Ice Cream Challenge to Fight Cancer – Fairfield Daily Voice; June 8, 2016

Fairfield News Article

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — A Fairfield woman looking for a fund way to raise money for metastatic breast cancer research is preparing to dish up ice cream for the Saugatuck Scoops Challenge Fundraiser on Friday, June 17.

Fairfield neuropsychologist Rebecca Timlin-Scalera founded The Cancer Couch Foundation after she herself was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

Teams of four will attempt to eat as many scoops of ice cream as they can in five minutes for the Scoops Challenge to benefit her foundation.

Participants will make teams of four, pick a team name and their favorite ice cream flavor. The first 32 teams that pledge to raise $200 get to participate.

The challenge is open to all Fairfield students in grades K-12.

Register online at thecancercouch.com .

The fundraiser will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. at Saugatuck Sweets, 28 Reef Road.

A wife, mother and neuropsychologist, Timlin-Scalera found her life changed last Sept. 3 when she heard the words: “You have cancer.”

Metastatic breast cancer is the most deadly form of the disease, and 30 percent of people diagnosed with early stage breast cancer eventually develop MBC.

She decided to create a financially transparent, volunteer-managed foundation that puts donations to work directly for MBC patients.

Timlin-Scalera was blindsided by the advanced breast cancer diagnosis. Initially told she had Stage II, she was then told she had Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, the most severe form of the disease. Her diagnosis was then reversed to Stage IIIC after a misdiagnosed bone biopsy. In a matter of weeks, she went through the emotional and informational rollercoaster of experiencing nearly every stage of breast cancer before beginning treatment.

Even as a medical professional, she received an eye-opening crash course into the world of breast cancer research, treatments and communities. Having looked the most deadly form of breast cancer in the face, Timlin-Scalera resolved to take a stand to help prevent and cure breast cancer by creating The Cancer Couch Foundation.

The foundation is also planning The Cancer Beat rock concert and fundraiser for September with such auction items as guitars signed by Bruce Springsteen and Glenn Frey.

The goal is to fund research projects for metastatic breast cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and The Dana Farber Cancer Institute. For more information, visit the website at visit thecancercouch.com .

Original Fairfield Article

https://fairfield.dailyvoice.com/neighbors/fairfield-neuropsychologist-dishes-up-ice-cream-challenge-to-fight-cancer/660504/

Fairfield Doctor, Mother Battles Breast Cancer and Raises Awareness – Fairfield Patch; June 7, 2016

Mother Funding Breast Cancer Research

FAIRFIELD, CT — Neuropsychologist Dr. Rebecca Timlin-Scalera is a Fairfield mom with breast cancer and she’s on a mission.

Timlin-Scalera, the founder of The Cancer Couch Foundation, is launching a massive effort to fund research exclusively for metastatic breast cancer (when it spreads outside of the breast to other parts of the body).

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The goal is to fund research projects for metastatic breast cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and The Dana Farber Cancer Institute, with the potential for making this a chronic, but managed, condition rather than a terminal illness.

In hopes of raising awareness and funding for a cure, Timlin-Scalera has several, local events coming-up, including on June 17 — a Last Day of School Challenge, which is being held in conjunction with Saugatuck Sweets of Fairfield.

The Saugatuck Sweets Challenge Fundraiser will take place June 17 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 28 Reef Road in Fairfield.

In the challenge, which is open to all Fairfield students in grades K-12, teams of four try to eat as many scoops of ice cream as they can in five minutes.

For more information, see the flyer pictured above and register online at thecancercouch.com.

Read more about Timlin-Scalera in the contributed article below:

Rebecca Timlin-Scalera’s life changed on September 3, 2015 when she heard shocking words: “You have cancer.”

A wife, mother and neuropsychologist, Timlin-Scalera reacted to this news by founding The Cancer Couch Foundation to fund research for metastatic breast cancer (MBC).

MBC is the most deadly form of the disease, and 30 percent of people diagnosed with early stage breast cancer eventually develop MBC.

After discovering this, Timlin-Scalera decided to create a financially transparent, volunteer-managed foundation that puts donations to work directly for MBC patients.

If you know more than eight women, then breast cancer will impact your life at some point.

Rebecca Timlin-Scalera, a PhD neuropsychologist and mother of two, has lived the infamous statistic – that one in eight women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in her lifetime.

Timlin-Scalera was blindsided by an advanced breast cancer diagnosis. Initially told she had Stage II, she was then told she had Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, the most severe form of the disease. Her diagnosis was then reversed to Stage IIIC after a misdiagnosed bone biopsy.

In a matter of weeks, she went through the emotional and informational rollercoaster of experiencing nearly every stage of breast cancer before beginning treatment. Even as a medical professional, she received an eye-opening crash course into the world of breast cancer research, treatments and communities.

Having looked the most deadly form of breast cancer in the face, Timlin-Scalera resolved to take a stand to help prevent and cure breast cancer by creating The Cancer Couch Foundation.

The goal is to fund research projects for metastatic breast cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and The Dana Farber Cancer Institute, with the potential for making this a chronic, but managed, condition rather than a terminal illness.

The Cancer Couch Foundation is tied to Timlin-Scalera’s website of the same name, will gather private donations in addition to hosting large-scale events to raise money for and awareness of MBC.

The first of these events, “The Cancer Beat” rock concert and fundraiser with auction items including guitars signed by Bruce Springsteen and Glenn Frey, is planned for September 2016.

For more information about The Cancer Couch Foundation and Rebecca Timlin-Scalera, visit thecancercouch.com.

Original Article

https://patch.com/connecticut/fairfield/fairfield-doctor-mother-battles-breast-cancer-raises-awareness-0

Fairfield Doctor Starts Foundation to Fund Metastatic Breast Cancer Research – Fairfield County Business Journal; June 2, 2016

Rebecca Funding Metastatic Breast Cancer Research

Most people receiving a diagnosis of Stage 4 breast cancer understandably tend to withdraw into themselves, explore the options involved with treatment — chemotherapy, radiation, surgery — and simply hope for the best.

But most people aren’t Rebecca Timlin-Scalera.

Since being diagnosed in September 2015, the Fairfield-based neuropsychologist has become an activist, establishing The Cancer Couch Foundation to fund research exclusively for metastatic breast cancer, metastatic being the term for when the disease spreads to other parts of the body.

“When I got the Stage 4 diagnosis, I was of course devastated,” she said. “But a few weeks later we did another round of tests, and I was upgraded to Stage 3C” — a still serious condition where the cancer cells have usually not spread to more distant sites in the body, but are present in several lymph nodes.

“It didn’t seem to make much sense,” Timlin-Scalera said. “I’ve always led a healthy lifestyle, and I work in the health care field, in a hospital. But I didn’t know the facts about cancer.”

When still under the Stage 4 cloud, Timlin-Scalera began researching and connecting to breast cancer communities online. She found that one in eight women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetime, with 6 to 10 percent diagnosed at Stage 4 and the remainder diagnosed “early” at stages 1 to 3. Thirty percent of those diagnosed with early stage breast cancer are eventually rediagnosed with metastatic breast cancer — Stage 4, for which there is no cure.

About 40,000 people die each year from metastatic breast cancer in the U.S., similar to those who died annually of AIDS at the height of that crisis. But while that disease has been brought under control to some degree through medication, “The same isn’t true of breast cancer. The cancer cells are so clever, so adept at getting around everything you can throw at them.”

Timlin-Scalera took heart from President Barack Obama’s announcement during his 2016 State of the Union address of the establishment of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative to accelerate cancer research. The initiative — led by Vice President Joe Biden — aims to make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving efforts at preventing cancer and detecting it at an early stage.

What truly struck her, she said, was her discovery that only about 7 percent of breast cancer research funding goes to studying treatment for metastatic breast cancer — leaving that significant community feeling underserved or even ignored.

As a result, Timlin-Scalera started The Cancer Couch Foundation, named to reflect her private practice in Norwalk, which will present researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston with the proceeds it raises through its thecancercouch.com website and a number of fundraising events; the institutions have promised to match every dollar donated. As The Cancer Couch is an entirely volunteer-based organization, Timlin-Scalera said 100 percent of its income will be donated, probably in 6-month increments starting later this year.

“The research work just isn’t being done,” Timlin-Scalera said. Together with other like-minded groups such as Met Up — named for metastatic cancer patients — her organization is aiming to raise that 7 percent for research to 30 percent.

The Cancer Couch’s scheduled events include a June 17 “Last Day of School!” fundraiser at Westport’s Saugatuck Sweets, in which teams of students kindergarten to twelfth grade will compete to see who can eat the most ice cream in five minutes; the four-person teams are required to raise at least $200 in pledges to qualify.

In addition, The Cancer Couch is hosting a Sept. 10 benefit concert featuring The English Beat (one of Timlin-Scalera’s favorite groups) at The Warehouse in Fairfield.

“Now that I got out of the hospital a couple of weeks ago,” she said, “I’m committed to putting together more special events.”

Original Article

https://westfaironline.com/79616/fairfield-doctor-starts-foundation-to-fund-metastatic-breast-cancer-research/

Fairfield CT Resident Dedicates Her Life to Funding Research for Metastatic Breast Cancer – Release; June 1, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                          Contact: Meryl L. Moss Media Relations Inc.

Katie Hires | katie@merylmossmedia.com

203-226-0199

 FAIRFIELD, CT RESIDENT DEDICATES HER LIFE TO

FUNDING RESEARCH FOR METASTIC BREAST CANCER

Rebecca Timlin-Scalera’s life changed on September 3, 2015 when she heard shocking words: “You have cancer.” A wife, mother and neuropsychologist, Timlin-Scalera reacted to this news by founding The Cancer Couch Foundation (501c3) to fund research for metastatic breast cancer (MBC).

MBC is the most deadly form of the disease, and 30 percent of people diagnosed with early stage breast cancer eventually develop MBC. After discovering this, Timlin-Scalera decided to create a financially transparent, volunteer-managed foundation that puts donations to work directly for MBC patients.

If you know more than eight women, then breast cancer will impact your life at some point. Rebecca Timlin-Scalera, a PhD neuropsychologist and mother of two, has lived the infamous statistic – that one in eight women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. Timlin-Scalera was blindsided by an advanced breast cancer diagnosis. Initially told she had Stage II, she was then told she had Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, the most severe form of the disease. Her diagnosis was then reversed to Stage IIIC after a misdiagnosed bone biopsy.

In a matter of weeks, she went through the emotional and informational rollercoaster of experiencing nearly every stage of breast cancer before beginning treatment. Even as a medical professional, she received an eye-opening crash course into the world of breast cancer research, treatments and communities. Having looked the most deadly form of breast cancer in the face, Timlin-Scalera resolved to take a stand to help prevent and cure breast cancer by creating The Cancer Couch Foundation.

The goal is to fund research projects for metastatic breast cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and The Dana Farber Cancer Institute, with the potential for making this a chronic, but managed, condition rather than a terminal illness.

The Cancer Couch Foundation is tied to Timlin-Scalera’s website of the same name, will gather private donations in addition to hosting large-scale events to raise money for and awareness of MBC. The first of these events, “The Cancer Beat” rock concert and fundraiser with auction items including guitars signed by Bruce Springsteen and Glenn Frey, is planned for September 2016.

For more information about The Cancer Couch Foundation and Rebecca Timlin-Scalera, visit thecancercouch.com.

 

  1. REBECCA TIMLIN-SCALERA is a wife, mother and neuropsychologist, and breast cancer patient. Timlin-Scalera responded to the news of her diagnosis by founding The Cancer Couch Foundation to fund research for metastatic breast cancer. She also blogs at http://thecancercouch.com/ from the perspective of a psychologist turned patient with advice on how to cope through adversity by finding humor and gratitude in ordinary moments. She has been published in academic literature as well as the Visible Ink 2016 Anthology, Cosmopolitan magazine, the Associated Press and shared her opinions on Sirius Radio. She regularly speaks on health related radio shows about her foundation and her experience with breast cancer.

 

A Terminal Diagnosis that Turned Into a Life Affirming Journey – My Social Good News; May 26, 2016

rebecca-hd

When diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2015, Rebecca Timlin-Scalera, PhD neuropsychologist and mother of two, was completely blindsided. Initially diagnosed with Stage II, she was later told her cancer was Stage IV metastatic—the most deadly form of the disease—and it had spread to other parts of the body. Later, a bone biopsy revealed normal tissue, and she was upgraded to Stage IIIC, the closest someone can be to the most advanced form of this type of cancer.

In a matter of weeks, Timlin-Scalera went through the emotional and informational rollercoaster of experiencing nearly every stage of breast cancer before beginning treatment. Even as a neuropsychologist specializing in trauma therapy, she received an eye-opening crash course into the world of breast cancer research, treatments and communities.

Her research found that metastatic breast cancer (MBC) research receives only seven percent of federal funding for breast cancer research even though 30 percent of people diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, eventually develop MBC. The average prognosis for patients with MBC is two to three years. In 2016, there are an estimated 2.8 million women living with a history of female breast cancer in the United States.

Shortly after her diagnosis, Timlin-Scalera began writing about her experiences through her professional lens as a neuropsychologist. Using her expertise on both sides of the psychological couch, she created her popular The Cancer Couch blog as an exploration of what it means to cope when prematurely faced with mortality. Her insights have struck a chord with cancer patients, family members, friends and even those who have had no direct experience with this disease. Her writing style gracefully balances humor and pathos, which she hopes will help not only herself, but others in similar situations, to see beauty in the ordinary and appreciate everyday life with or without cancer.

Original Article

A Terminal Diagnosis That Turned Into a Life-Affirming Journey

Ford Model of Courage 2016

ford-placeholder-logo-2Rebecca Timlin-Scalera from Fairfield, CT chosen to be one of the Ford Models of Courage for the year of 2016! See http://www.fordcares.com for more info and to purchase their apparel.

Listen To Your Mother

I am completely honored to share the great news that I have been selected to be part of the NYC cast of authors to read a piece of my writing live, and be videoed, at the upcoming LTYM show in NYC on May 7th at 3pm (click on highlighted link for details).

You can check out their website to learn more about this cool organization, but I thought I’d share their mission statement here:

The mission of each LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER production is to take the audience on a well-crafted journey that celebrates and validates mothering through giving voice to motherhood–in all of its complexity, diversity, and humor.

LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER aims to support motherhood creatively through artistic expression, and also financially–through contributions to non-profit organizations supporting families in need.

Thank you to the LTYM judges for choosing me to be part of this year’s cast, and I welcome anyone to come laugh at me trying to read without crying in front of a large audience. I couldn’t get through the audition without blubbering so we’ll see…

Visible Ink

visible-inkRebecca Timlin-Scalera writes wit and wisdom about her cancer experience and one of her pieces was chosen to be featured in MSKCC 2016 Visible Ink Anthology.

This is a truly amazing and uplifting program that Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center provides to it’s patients. This program pairs up cancer patients who are interested in writing, with professional writers who volunteer their time to mentor them. They also host workshops and lectures throughout the year in addition to publishing an annual anthology and show. It has been such a pleasure to be part of this program. Writing about and through my cancer experience has been so therapeutic for me.