When Bald is Beautiful

Bald is BeautifulThe other day, I noticed a woman – she was bald – and she was beautiful.  What shone through creating this vision of beauty was her spirit – undaunted by her journey through cancer.  She was not going to let cancer define her.

Not everyone can allow themselves to be that vulnerable.  That’s okay.  There are times in the cancer journey when we need to protect ourselves while we heal.  And for most of us, this is quite often.  Wearing chemo hats and scarves, even real looking wigs, does give us protection – not just our souls, but protection from the environment whether it’s the cold of more northern climates or the heat of southern climates.

About being bald, here is a funny story of my time going bald.  My hair was just coming back in.  It was July in Ontario which means hot and muggy.  Way too hot to be wearing scarves or wigs, even a hat, although I did wear it on occasion so I wouldn’t get sunburned.  I wore bald plain and simple.

At the same time, my Mom had just had a cancerous lesion taken off her top lip.  She had stitches and a fat lip to boot.  So, we are over at the shopping mall next to my Mom’s apartment – me with no hair and my Mom with a fat lip.  The looks we got were totally hilarious – disbelief, shock, a smile.

Having a sense of humour makes life so much easier.  We laughed about this incident many times.  Priceless.

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Surprise – Menopause After Chemotherapy

Stress-Reduction-Techniques-May-Ease-Hot-FlashesWere you told that you might go into menopause as a side effect of chemotherapy?  I don’t recall that being brought up when I was going through treatment.

So, when I was out shopping one day and all of a sudden I thought I had stepped into a tropical zone, it was a surprise.  Took me a moment or two to realize – oh my, this is a hot flash.  This is how it feels.

Hot one moment, cold the next creates a few changes in clothing choices and night time arrangements.  Wicking sleepwear and garments for day wear mostly from the sportswear industry are the solution for clothing.  At least the fabric wicks away the sweat from your body relieving the clammy feeling.  Gone are turtlenecks and in are cardigans – layers you can add on and take off with ease.

Then I found out there is also bedding in wicking fabrics.  Together with moisture wicking pajamas, a good nights sleep is within reach.  Last solution is to find herbal solutions and natural therapies to balance out the hot flashes since hormone therapy is not the alternative of choice if you have had breast cancer.

Prepared with these solutions you can ease your way through menopause with some modicum of comfort and sanity.

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Healing Gemstone Bracelets – Do You Wear Them?

6th_Chakra_BraceletSome people love to wear jewelry.  It brightens their day, adds a personal touch to their persona and delivers a touch of glamor to an outfit.  For some their style tends towards earrings.  Others, towards pendants or bracelets.

Personally, I wear earrings more as I teach dance classes.  I don’t want my jewelry to get in the way.  But when I go out socially, I love to put on a special pendant or wear one a bracelet made with beautiful gemstones.  The healing gemstones add an extra element of energy and specialness to the occasion.

During cancer treatment, when I didn’t have hair and was working at putting a good face on the situation, I wore big earrings with my scarves.  I would admire the beautiful healing gemstone jewelry I’d see and eventually I added pieces to my jewelry collection.  Each of them brings an element of their special energy to my being. And some have come as very gifts bearing love and caring – in fact, a couple are healing gemstone bracelets.

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Does Cancer Treatment Change Your Skin?

shutterstock_106794554Absolutely.  When you consider that chemotherapy drugs target all fast dividing cells, it stands to reason that your skin will be affected.  Skin cells are fast dividing cells.

The intensity of the reaction will occur during the treatment phase whether it is radiation or chemotherapy.

  • Radiation can cause burning of the skin for those with a fair or sensitive skin.  I know that it was recommended to use a non-alum powder during radiation when I went through my treatment..
  • Some chemotherapy drugs will cause peeling and/or burning and tingling of the hands and feet.  Very uncomfortable.  Dryness is another side effect, especially if a woman goes into menopause as a result of chemotherapy.
  • Sun sensitivity can be a side effect of chemotherapy.  Use a moisturizing cream with sunscreen and make sure to wear a hat with a brim and cover up exposed skin as best you can.

This is why it is critically important to use organic skin care products that are free of chemicals, scents and additives.  The more natural ingredients you can use, the more soothingly they will be on your skin. You already have enough chemicals going through your body, why add any more and run the risk they will interact badly with your treatment.

Even after all treatment is finished, it is still advised to use organic skin care products as some reactions will linger and possibly be an issue in the years to come.

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When Flowers Are Not A Great Gift Option

Most of us think of sending flowers to someone who is ill, or bereaved, or is in need of special attention.  However, not everyone likes flowers or can handle the perfume of flowers.  Plants are then good options.

fruit-medley-470However, think about this one – a fruit basket.  Fruit is healthy, easy to eat if not feeling well, can be shared with visitors, and doesn’t have an aroma that may cause problems.

I’ve received a fruit basket a few times in my life and so appreciated it.  My family appreciated it as well.  Not being a smelly flower person, it was the perfect choice.  A great option to other inspirational gifts for cancer patients that people send.

It also works when you live in another city – you can send a gift basket as easily as a flower arrangement.

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You Are More Than Your Body

BeautyHow do we think of ourselves?  Do we often focus on our body – our image that presents to the world?  In this day and age, there is a great focus on looking good, being fit, staying slim, etc.

We all come in different sizes and shapes, colors and nationalities.  With that come different ways to look at our body – what it symbolizes.  Can we be okay with who we are inside?  Can we celebrate who we are on the outside – no one has the perfect body, even models.

For women with breast cancer, this can become an issue after a mastectomy.  I’ve heard that this surgery has shifted relationships, creates decisions about whether to have reconstructive surgery or be content wearing mastectomy bras.  A lot of the decision depends on lifestyle.  For those who are involved in active sports, reconstructive surgery is their choice.  For others, not.

Regardless, the saying holds true – you are more than your body.  Truly, what counts is who you are inside.  Beauty starts within.  That energy creates a wonderful aura around you.  Here’s to magnificent you.

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Not All Lymphedema is Related to Breast Cancer

Leg Compression GarmentI’ve heard this said several times, mostly because there is so much information out there about breast cancer – lymphedema is about breast cancer.  NOT ONLY!

Lymphedema can happen to those going through any surgeries that affect the lymph nodes in the groin or areas in the abdomen.  Men who have had prostate or colon surgery get lymphedema in their legs.  Women who have had ovarian, colon, or cervical cancer are also at risk.  This condition requires wearing compression stockings – at the very least, compression socks.

It is often wise to wear a compression garment as prevention for sport related activities, air travel, and/or occasions when a person has to stand for a long time.

Having two legs of different sizes creates a whole host of issues I’m sure anyone would want to avoid.  Take precautions early.  Read our free report for tips and information.

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How to Survive Baldness With Panache During Chemo

Chemotherapy often means losing one’s hair.  It doesn’t happen to everyone, but it does to the majority – male or female.  Men can wear a cap and be comfortable – or go bald.  Lots of men are bald irregardless of having cancer.

Women – wshutterstock_163011854 ChemoHatell – this is a bigger issue.  People are not accustomed to seeing bald women, although some women do accept their baldness, have beautiful heads, and look absolutely stunning.

For those who do not wear bald as beautifully, there are wonderful options for chemo head-wear.

I always went for the scarf because I could vary the look, feel and color according to how I felt that day.

There are very fashionable chemo hats and turbans that come down far enough over your ears and hairline to cover the bald. Some even have hair attachments so that no-one would know the difference.

And, then there are wigs in both synthetic hair and real hair according to your budget and needs.  In my day, they were hot and scratchy.  Nowadays, they are light and airy – comfortable.  If you’re wearing a synthetic wig, be aware that heat can singe them.  My sister found this out when she opened a hot oven.  Surprise!

Have lots of scarves, chemo hats, etc.  to brighten your day and match your mood or event.  Have fun with it.  I’ve heard some really funny stories that will make your sides ache from laughing.  And, laughter is good medicine.

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Winter Blahs – How to LIft Your Spirits

GemstonesWinter has never been my favorite time of year.  Being originally from Ontario, it was often damp cold, grey, and drab when it got slushy.  Now living in Alberta, there are often beautiful days of sunshine and snow with breathtaking vistas of the mountains.  For those who love winter sports, winter is an awesome adventure.  However, for me, I love the sunshine of spring, summer and fall, so work at how to make winter liveable.

Same principle applies when the blahs that accompany treatment get you down.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Wear bright colors with your basic black, navy or whatever color works for you
  • Add a dash of pizazz with bling – try healing gemstone jewelry. – double benefit
  • Find a sport or activity, inside or outside, that you love.  I like walking, but it’s often too icy.  Teaching my dance classes works for me.
  • Get outside when you can for some fresh air, even if it’s frightfully cold.  A few minutes of fresh air will clear out the cobwebs and lift your spirits.
  • Visit with friends for some laugh time and conversation

What works for you?  Do you wear healing gemstones? We’d love to hear other ideas.  The same thing doesn’t work for everyone.  And we all live in different areas – some warmer than others.

 

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A Great Sleep Solution For Hot Flashes after Chemo

One ofWicking Nightshirt the most unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy is the onset of menopause for women.  With menopause come the hot flashes and night sweats.  Some women get them more severely than others, but no matter the degree, they are still uncomfortable and annoying.

I recall when mine hit.  Wow, I thought the temperature had soared to tropical proportions in the middle of winter.  Then the cold clammy came afterwards.  I’d already had three chemo treatments so in my naivete thought I had bypassed this side effect.  Obviously not.

 

Back in the 1990’s, information wasn’t as available and I didn’t know about moisture wicking pajamas.  If I had known, it would have made a huge difference in my ability to get a good night’s sleep..

We’ve come a long way since then.  Now there is many beautiful styles in wicking sleepwear from which to choose.  Sweet dreams.

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