I’ve noticed the word “DARE” on the front covers of many fashion magazines this year. Fearless. Risking. Stretching outside of your comfort zone.
As the founder of a fashion brand for women living with breast cancer, that is what I strive to help women do. To move forward on their own terms. To express themselves after their mastectomies and through treatment regimens.
This year more than most, I am reminded that winning is about individuality. Every woman is unique, as is her journey with cancer or BRCA preventive surgeries.
Transitioning well is embracing what’s next and arriving intact. Re-reading my 2018 blogs reminds me that it’s doable. The women I’ve interviewed are living proof, and more.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.
Survivors are dreamers. And advocates. And change-makers.
They are moving forward in spite of significant health challenges. Their advice comes down to one essential task – RESTORE.
Bouncing back means giving themselves what they need. And there are no rules.
Rest. Nutrition. Saying “no.” Ignoring the news. Writing . Re-prioritizing. Simplifying. Music, art, yoga, dancing, socializing…and animals. So much of what heals us is right in front of us.
Riding the wave of change isn’t easy. It involves:
- Examining thoughts and feelings.
- Seeing how it plays out.
- Talking with others.
- Owning our choices.
Managing stress along the way requires questioning, learning, volunteering, suggesting and problem solving. There is no one way, no right way, only options to choose as we wish and we want.
Are you ready to dare? Here are some books that you might want to check out. I hope they challenge and inspire you! (Note: The reviews are written by Amazon.)
From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition
By Maria Hewitt (Editor), Sheldon Greenfield (Editor), Ellen Stovall (Editor)
With the risk of more than one in three getting cancer during a lifetime, each of us is likely to experience cancer, or know someone who has survived cancer. Although some cancer survivors recover with a renewed sense of life and purpose, what has often been ignored is the toll taken by cancer and its treatment on health, functioning, sense of security, and well-being. Long lasting effects of treatment may be apparent shortly after its completion or arise years later. The transition from active treatment to post-treatment care is critical to long-term health.
I Don’t Know What I Want but I Know It Isn’t This: A Step-by-step Guide to Finding Gratifying Work
By Julie Jansen
Julie volunteers as a resume writer for CancerandCareers.org. She is very familiar with the dynamics and questions that women wrestle with, following a cancer diagnosis. She knows that whether you’re unhappy with your job or without one, there are real and satisfying actions you can take.
Jansen has updated her classic guide to address the unique challenges of today’s job market, from the ever-more important world of social media to new ways of funding your own endeavors online. Filled with quizzes, personality assessments, and real-life examples, this guide helps you identify the type of work you’re best suited for and provides the know-how—and the inspiration—for transforming an uncertain time into an opportunity for meaningful change.
Do You Think I Need to Wear Boobs with This Dress? Redesigning Life after Breast Cancer
By Lynne Hanson
What happens when a fashion designer meets breast cancer? Faced with a new body after two mastectomies, a fashion designer embarks on a quest to redefine and clothe her new body. In this true story, she faces self-discovery and unexpected results as she sets out to design a line of clothes for women facing body issues such as hers. With a sense of humor, she challenges her life as a flat-chested woman, explores alternatives, and asks: Are breasts an integral part of female identity, society’s requirement of a woman, or simply an accessory? The author takes a serious topic and turns it into an easy and enjoyable read. It’s a story about life as a daughter, wife, mother, and friend while surviving cancer; accepting a different path in life than previously planned.
Fine Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear and Loneliness
By Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad
The award-winning Fine Black Lines provides courage, comfort and hope through Lois’ reflective journal entries, insightful poetry, stark photographs and various musings. First published in 1993 it continues to be a standard among professionals, caregivers, patients, loved ones and survivors. She reflects on facing cancer, fear and loneliness as a woman, wife, mother, colleague and more. You will want to keep this close to you for years to come as a resource and as a companion when you’re down, grateful or filled with gladness. Buy a copy today!
Dangerous Boobies: Breaking Up with My Time-Bomb Breasts
By Cailtin Brodnick
After watching too many family members die of cancer, at age 28, public speaker and comedian Caitlin Brodnick tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation, indicating an 87% chance she’d likely be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. She had a preventative double mastectomy, thereby becoming an everywoman’s Angelina Jolie.
With a warm, funny, and approachable voice, Caitlin tells readers the full story, even sharing what it was like to go from a size 32G bra–giant, for a woman who is barely over five feet tall!–to a 32C. Engaging and open, she admits to having hated her breasts long before her surgery, and enjoying the process of “designing” her new breasts, from the shape of the breasts to the size and color of the nipples.
While Caitlin’s primary narrative explores the BRCA gene and breast cancer, her story is also one about body acceptance and what it takes to be confident with and in charge of one’s body. Her speaking engagements and comedy routines have shown that the wider topic of breasts, breast size, and personal identity resonate with the young and the old.