Sunday, September 7, 2014

Making Peace With Your Body

As breast cancer survivors,  I am pretty sure there is one thing we all have in common--body image issues. Our issues about our bodies are very different from the women out there who believe they can never be thin enough.  Our angst goes beyond trying to camouflage a tummy bulge. Back in the day, I was horrified at the point in my life when I crossed over from a size 6 dress to a size 8. What I would do to have that problem now!

For us breast cancer survivors, striving to maintain a thin and toned body is only part of our self-image equation. We must make peace with the map of scars on our physicality that will mark us for life. When a new man sweeps me off my feet, I must come clean about how I beat this disease called breast cancer so there are no surprises. Lucky for me, baring my soul to a man before I bared my body has had no bad consequences. In fact, I believe my whole survivorship story elevates my appeal to some guys. 

But still. There is no erasing those scars. They will always be there. It is ironic that all the plastic surgery I got through breast reconstructive surgery has made me look a hell of a lot better in clothes. When I go to parties,  there have been women my age that have had a few too many drinks and blurted out: "How come your boobs are so perky?" I just give them a serene smile and reply: "It's my reward for battling breast cancer."

That's when I look at those women and weigh in: Saggy boobs versus scarred boobs--you be the judge. That's when I realize that when you get to be in your 50s, there is no way in hell you are ever going to rock a bikini like you did at 25--whether you had breast cancer or not. In middle age, we all have something going on with our body that doesn't look so hot. Before I had breast cancer, I had not one surgical scar on my body. But I did have some oversized boobs that I believe only made me look dumpy. That problem has since been solved. With my clothes on, today my boobs look mighty fine.

Now if only I could get back into a size 8.

Friday, September 5, 2014

My Memories of Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers and me at the Fashion Accessories Benefit Ball in 1998
I had the good fortune to interview and meet Joan Rivers during my tenure at Accessories magazine. I was working on a feature article about QVC and wrote a sidebar story on her entitled: "Can We Shop?" The minute I got on the phone to interview Joan, I couldn't stop laughing. For every answer to a question, she fired back fast and witty one-liners. My colleagues peaked into my cubicle to figure out why I was practically giggling on the floor.
No doubt about it, Joan was funny. But she had a whole other side the public never knew. The very week the story was published, she sent me flowers, a piece from her jewelry collection, and a signed copy of her latest book. Two months later, I met her at the Fashion Accessories Benefit Ball (pictured here). When I introduced myself, she reached out to shake my hand and said thank you for the press coverage once again.
I've interviewed plenty of high-profile people in my life, but none of them exhibited as much thoughtfulness as Joan Rivers. I was truly impressed at how she never took her fame for granted. She touched me with her gratitude and inspired me with her grace and style. RIP Joan Rivers. You were a remarkable survivor who epitomized class.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

To Be Broken Is No Reason To See All Things Broken

To all of you out there currently battling cancer, remember this quote from Mark Nepo who battled cancer twice and survived: "To Be Broken Is No Reason To See All Things Broken."

Read his book on his journey beating cancer and rising from the ashes of the disease:
The Book of Awakening.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Out Of My Hands

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I felt this overwhelming sense of powerlessness. Previously in my life I had never so much as had a stitch or spent one night in a hospital. Then suddenly within a year, I was dealing with the incapacitating effects of chemo, coping with the pain of a mastectomy and feeling exhausted from radiation.

Before getting cancer, my only health problem was high cholesterol and being overweight--all things that I could control by eating better. But this cancer thing was not going to go away by simply going on a diet. The scary part was that even with all the treatments I was going through, there was no guarantee that I would end up cancer-free.

I realized half of what happens to me is simply out of my hands. So I might as well accept that as serenely as possible. We can't change it, so just shrug your shoulders and get on with it.

That said, we might as well seize what we can control to help get a positive outcome. For example, none of my doctors told me to eat better and exercise while I was battling cancer, but common sense tells me it can't hurt. Plus, when you feel as though your life is spinning out control, it helps when you are doing your part to manage the chaos.

Even today as I walk through life cancer-free, I am reminded of all things that I cannot control and realize the choices I make throughout the day can at least make some difference. After surviving cancer, it becomes more important to exercise your choice to build a better life.

Blogger's note: Reposting a post from a couple of years ago by popular request.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Samantha Harris's Double Mastectomy Choice Will Impact Lives

Samantha Harris, who once co-hosted Dancing With The Stars and is currently an Entertainment Tonight correspondent, has announced she will have a double-mastectomy after learning she has breast cancer.

Samantha is only 40 years old with two little girls--ages six and three. She represents the growing trend among younger women that are getting diagnosed with breast cancer. On ET last Friday night, she started sobbing as she read an email of support from a breast cancer survivor on her iPad.

Samantha Harris
I couldn't help but jump on to her facebook page and add my own encouraging comment. I told her I was six years cancer free, that I had chosen the most radical treatment route to battle breast cancer, and I believed that choice saved my life. I assured her she had made the right decision and before she knew it, life would be back to normal. I also suggested she use her fame to raise breast cancer awareness. By doing so, she could potentially save many lives.

Every time high-profile celebrities step up to the spotlight and announce not only that they have breast cancer, but have opted for a double mastectomy, I can't help but give them a huge shout-out on this blog. 

They help take the fear away from women who are faced with losing their breasts. They give them courage to choose a radical approach that will give them the best shot at surviving breast cancer. Not every women in the same shoes has that kind of the power.

My mother used to tell me, when you have the power, USE it. I am so happy Samantha Harris and so many other high-profile women of her generation have chosen to go public with their breast cancer battle. It is a growing epidemic among them after all.

Thoughts and prayers to you and your family, Samantha Harris. Trust me, you will do just fine.



Friday, February 21, 2014

Introducing Trash To Treasure DIY Decorating!

After four months, my website, www.trashtotreasurediydecorating.com has finally gone live!


The mission of this website is to inspire others to think twice about buying something new and reinventomg what they already have.

My tagline? Rescue. Repurpose. Restyle.

It is also targeted to flea market, tag sale and thrift shop addicts like me that are always on the hunt for junk that they can turn into upcycled gold. If that's what you are into, do please checkout my website.

I not only cover diy projects, I document how I am refreshing one room at a time in my home.

Thanks for your support!

www.trashtotreasurediydecorating.com

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shirley Temple Black: Breast Cancer Awareness Pioneer

Blogger's Note:  My mother was named after Shirley Temple and mom is my hero. So is Shirley Temple because she was a breast cancer survivor pioneer, raising awareness about the disease way back in 1972. RIP Shirley Temple and thank you for talking about your breast cancer fight to the world.

Tuesday, 11 Feb 2014 11:03 AM
By Charlotte Libov
Share:
A    A   |
   Email Us   |
   Print   |
   Forward Article  |
Shirley Temple Black was an iconic child movie superstar who later became an important diplomat. But her greatest legacy may be her pioneering role in breast cancer awareness.
Black died Monday at age of 85. No cause of death was announced.
In 1972 she startled the world when she spoke out from her hospital bed in Stanford, Calif., where she was recuperating from a mastectomy to remove a cancerous tumor in her left breast. At the time, women – especially movie stars – didn’t generally talk about their medical problems in public.


Her openness led the way years later for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure,” both of which are credited with saving thousands of women’s lives.'“My doctors have assured me that they are 100 percent certain the cancer is removed,” Black said at the time. “The only reason I am telling you this is to convince other women to watch for any lump or unusual symptom. There is almost certain cure for this cancer if it is caught early enough.”  
Black’s brave and candid approach to her illness was remarkable for the time. She told a reporter that she “reached up to feel the void” after her left breast was removed.
“It was an amputation, and I faced it,” she said.

After going public with her illness, she received 50,000 letters of support. Black’s decision to speak out helped pave the way for later high-profile breast cancer survivors including former first lady Betty Ford and Happy Rockefeller, both of whom wrote books on the subject in an effort to help other women with the disease.  
Her enduring contributions to women’s health were recognized as recently as two years ago, when the Journal for Women’s Health lauded her not only as the “first public figure to come forward and write about breast cancer,” but also for her contributions to the then-fledgling consumer health movement.

When Black underwent her surgery, women routinely went into the hospital thinking they were going in for a breast biopsy only to awaken from surgery to find their breasts gone.
Doctors and family members often believed women wouldn’t be able to handle the news if they were told prior to surgery that they needed a mastectomy. That mentality, thanks in part to Black’s efforts, is considered unacceptable today.    
Black wrote in McCall’s magazine that it was outrageous that women should not have the right to make their own decisions about treatment, saying, “The doctor can make the incision, I’ll make the decision.”


Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/Headline/shirley-temple-black-breast/2014/02/11/id/552144#ixzz2t3auuZIL
Alert: What Is Your Risk for a Heart Attack? Find Out Now