Great idea for Survivors to help Patients

So at the C4YW Conference (Conference for Young Women) affected by Breast Cancer- I ran into these ladies who started an awesome organization called Hope Scarves. Basically they ask survivors to donate a favorite scarf that they wore during treatment and to write their story to inspire women after us. The women at Hope Scarves connect your old scarf with a patient who needs a little inspiration. Isn’t this a great idea? You can learn more about this organization at

After Treatment, when the “Head” Game starts

The other survivors and my oncologist warned me about this. It happens when your adrenaline stops pumping, when you no longer live moment to moment but you start thinking as far in advance as the next day or the next week. The “head game” starts when you no longer see your oncologist every other week for chemo, or when you finish radiation and you no longer see a medical professional at least once a week. Now what do you do? Being a cancer patient was your full-time job. You are thrilled treatment it’s over but you have mixed emotions.  The doctors and nurses are no longer there all the time to encourage you and tame your fears. And your friends and family think you’re done with treatment so you must be back to “normal” and your fine.

This is when you have time to think about “the what if?” And you now have time to think about what you went through. Holy shit! Did I seriously just do all of that? I found that this is the time you need to talk with the other survivors before you and process everything. This can be the hardest part emotionally besides the time of your diagnosis. Tell your friends or spouse you need to talk about it.

You are not whole yet, and that is ok. You will be, but you need time. I went to a 6 week class that they hold at Dana Farber in Boston for after treatment. I found it hugely helpful. Unlike non-gynecological cancers, breast cancer is an attack on who you are as a woman, your sense of self. The class was run by a social worker and we talked every week about a different topic, nutrition, depression, our sex life. Everything we wanted to talk about but didn’t know where to start.  But if this is not available, seek out other survivors who had your type of cancer and treatment. They will cheer you on, and show you that you will come out the other side. Hang in there. Believe or not, There will be a time when you will find it hard to remember the details of what you have been through.

All about Hair or the lack there of…

When people think of a cancer patient they think of someone bald in a scarf. It’s a visual that makes it hard to ignore that this person is undergoing cancer treatment.  Losing your hair is very personal thing- I didn’t have a hard time going out in public with just a scarf on- but many of my friends refused to go without a wig even in their own homes.  When I started to lose my hair after the 2nd round of chemo and it was falling out in my hands and on my pillow- I decided to take control and shave it off.  It was freaking me out to have it falling out in my hands and after it was all gone it wasn’t so bad. Seeing yourself in the mirror bald is weird- I looked a little bad ass if I do say so myself.  My friend Jen offered to help me shave it off. She buzzes her husbands’ hair all the time… so we figured this was going to be easy! Ha! We were so wrong! I had intense bone pain from the Neulasta shots they were giving me so my skull really hurt. So we didn’t use the 0 setting on the buzzer. Jen buzzed off most of my hair- and then to get really close – I had brought a daisy shaver and some shaving cream. It took forever and it was quite messy but eventually I was bald. In hindsight- we probably should have asked some guys we knew who shaved their heads what to do or go to a barber shop. But I wanted to do this in private- I didn’t know if I was going to freak out or not. I didn’t end up freaking out much to my surprise. I wore the cotton scarves that are in the “shop” area every day from May until September- even though I was bald in the summer my head was cold unless of course I was having a hot flash!