My youngest son, Cooper turns 12 this weekend. There will be a Fortnite party at the park – even if it’s snowing, which is likely. There will be boogie bombs (plastic ornaments filled with bubblegum), VBucks (chocolate covered gold coins), and slurp juice (blue punch). There will be cupcakes at school and cupcakes at his party. There will be enough Nerf guns for his entire sixth grade class – girls included – to plan their Fortnite mission.

Cooper and I strategized, shopped and scheduled the entire two-hour party. It’s going to be an epic party to celebrate a pretty epic 12-year-old.

The best part? I get to be there.

Two days after Cooper turned nine, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My goal was to see him turn ten. The memory still leaves a lump in my throat and a raw taste in my mouth from chemo. I lost a portion of my right breast, my hair, and the chance to ever have more children. I battled breast cancer and when depression followed, I fought that too.

There were multiple surgeries with incisions that led to scars that forever altered my body and indescribable pain, which was treated by medications that had a merry-go-round of side effects. I often prayed I would die. But I didn’t.

And I was able to see my son turn ten. Then 11. And now, my amazing little man, my brave heart, will be 12. And I get to be there. I get to celebrate his life.

Fighting like a girl isn’t easy. It’s tough. It’s hard. And often, the odds are stacked against us.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Raising awareness about this disease is something I try to focus on all year. Early detection saved my life, so regular breast cancer screenings are close to my heart.

Have you or your loved ones had their annual breast cancer screening? Do it. Please, don’t wait.

As an added incentive, email me ([email protected]) with the date of your screening appointment & I’ll send you something fun in the mail!

The more lives we save, the less cancer wins! So let’s do this!

Fight like a girl & kick cancer’s ass!


  • Mary Billiter

    Mary Billiter

    Mary Billiter is an Arts Education Specialist for the Wyoming Arts Council, college writing instructor, and domestic fiction author. Mary writes with clarity and raw emotion to explore difficult subjects and issues close to her heart. Her upcoming release, "A Divided Mind," offers a compelling look into how far a mother will go to protect her child and how far a divided mind will go to protect itself. Mary resides in the Cowboy State with her sexy bald husband, their blended family of six amazing kids, and their runaway dog. She does her best writing (in her head) on her daily walks in wild, romantic, beautiful Wyoming. Read more about Mary and her work at: Follow Mary on Twitter: @MaryBilliter