I have been asked to make a LOT of interesting cakes... 3-D cakes of dogs, owls, fire hydrants, etc. Beautiful cakes with an elegant theme for a variety of celebrations.... birthday cakes from the most simple to the most elaborate... But one of my latest cake orders is, by far, one of my favorites... EVER....
I received a message from a lady who had hosted a baby shower for a friend and I had made the cookies and cupcakes. She thought they were awfully cute and delicious and wanted to inquire about a special cake for herself. Her name was Erin and that's all I really knew about her. At the time she initially contacted me, my schedule was unusually hectic and I was in "survive the day" mode most of the time. Despite my hectic schedule, me missing her first message, and then responding late to the one I did see, she was super nice, laid back, and very forgiving of my somewhat frenetic energy at that time.
So when I finally was able to chat with Erin, I learned that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Specifically, inflammatory breast cancer, which is a quicker, less common variant that tries to attach to the skin. Erin told me she had just completed her final round of chemotherapy. She was planning a small gathering/party. That's something to celebrate, right? Your final round of chemo? I think I would be ecstatic and maybe want to have a small gathering with friends to acknowledge the milestone. But that was not what she wanted the cake for.
You see, after her chemo, the next step in her journey was a double mastectomy. We hear those words all the time and receive them in stride like they're no big deal. But when you're speaking with someone about HER upcoming double mastectomy, it takes on a whole new feeling. It's "real".... I mean, it's really "real". But Erin had such a positive attitude about it all and made it really easy to talk about. I mean... seriously. Her tone and attitude were nothing but joyful and "glass half full" all the way. I'm sure she had her bad days (who wouldn't) but she seemed determined to look at every aspect of her situation as positively as she could. I didn't know her, but I surely did admire her.
Anyhow, as you can imagine, the topic of "double mastectomy surgery" is probably difficult to talk about with your friends and family. I mean, really, what does one say in an effort to be supportive? She wanted to have a party with her friends and family and make it "okay" for everyone to talk about. It was the next, and necessary, step in her journey of healing and recovery.
Her idea was to have a "Boob Voyage" party with a cake or cupcakes that exemplified the theme in a positive, fun, and whimsical way. She wanted people to smile, relax, and know it was okay to talk about. I thought it was brilliant.
Surprisingly (or not surprisingly?) when I searched "boob voyage cake" and "images" I actually got a lot of cakes. But they were all the same... some sort of "boob set" either in a bikini top, bra, or full-on naked boobs. But nothing that really captured the theme or essence of the celebration. But Erin and I collaborated until we thought we had come up with the perfect cake.... and I think we nailed it!
"Boob Voyage" and "Anchors Away" Cake!
I am so proud and honored to have been a part of such a positive gathering. I have many friends who have fought and won, are fighting, or who lost their battle with breast cancer. It's insidious and not particular at all about who it chooses to attack. I am always amazed at how these women face the battle head on, and with such dignity and grace. Erin is certainly no exception.
I hope I am fortunate enough to keep up with Erin and her journey. She is brave and strong, and such an excellent example of being a warrior with grace. I am so grateful to have been a small piece in her amazing journey.
Erin With Her Cake
Erin's friends and family at her Boob Voyage celebration.