Like many people, advocacy often starts with a defining, life-changing moment. For me, it was a life-changing year. Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal breast cancer. I underwent a double mastectomy (removal of both breasts), an oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries), and chemotherapy. I became bald, breastless, and bewildered.
From the start, I struggled with basic problems, from how to dress now that my body was disfigured and scarred to coping with more complex psychosocial issues around my negative body image and feelings of low self-worth. It was devastating.
By the time I transitioned into survivorship, I was determined to improve the recovery experience for other women. Women coping with all forms of cancer.
Cancer Be Glammed
I co-founded Cancer Be Glammed, a company whose mission is to prepare women for the appearance-related issues and lifestyle challenges that they will likely face from surgery and treatment, and to empower them
to recover with dignity, positive self-esteem, and personal style. Over the years Cancer Be Glammed has grown from the spark of an idea from 2 moms to a company with global reach. Our platform includes:
- www.cancerbeglammed.com. Our content-rich website provides women with easy access to lifestyle and product solutions for an informed, practical-yet-fashionable recovery
- Cancer Be Glammed TV (CBG-TV). Our recovery lifestyle channel is accessible on YouTube
- Cancer Be Glammed: Recover in Style. Our recently published one-of-a-kind guide enables women to prepare and manage body and lifestyle challenges resulting from cancer treatment; the guide is available for purchase on our website
In addition, Cancer Be Glammed: Recover in Style is an excellent patient-support tool for oncology nurses, patient navigators, and oncology social workers to educate, empower, and engage their patients to “take charge” of their recovery.
For patients like me, oncology nurses, patient navigators, and oncology social workers are the people we rely on to guide us through our personal cancer maze. Much like first responders, these professional people have the knowledge and ability to rush in and make an unmanageable situation manageable. I admire them greatly.
AONN+ & CONQUER 2018 Hero of Hope Nominee
This past fall, I had the honor (and opportunity) of a lifetime! The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) and CONQUER: the patient voice named me a finalist for their Hero of Hope patient award.
I was invited to attend the AONN+ Ninth Annual Navigation & Survivorship Conference in
November 2018. For 4 days, I got to immerse myself in their world and to explore how patients, nurses, navigators, and oncologists can work together to improve patient care.
Thank you AONN+ for working tirelessly to better the lives of people fighting cancer. Thank you AONN+ and CONQUER for recognizing efforts like mine and other patients who are determined to do the same. I did not win the award, but thanks to AONN+ and CONQUER magazine, I headed home a winner.