Every year during the month of October, for every WINK sold, we donate one to a cancer warrior, to help their lashes and brows, lost through chemotherapy. In partnership with the Breast Cancer Charities of America, we are sharing these warrior’s stories, as powerful examples of how your gift is directly helping breast cancer patients across America.
This week we share the story of one of those warriors, Chiara D., in her own words:
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on November 3rd, 2014. I am now waiting for my prophylactic mastectomy surgery. I have quit smoking since my diagnosis. I find my support through cancer support groups that have effective moderators and also through prayer. My comfort throughout this time is being able to play with my children and receiving support from people I would never had guessed would show support. There is a kindness in strangers that also brought me a lot of joy.
My advice to others going through this difficult battle is to feel your feelings, surround yourself with supportive people and reach out for help, ask for what you want-whatever it is. You should get second medical opinions and get a copy of every medical report/scan/test done to you and bring it with you to every doctor’s appointment. Don’t google your diagnosis and speak to the oncology social worker at the hospital. You should also join a cancer support group, go to therapy–if you need it–and journal your thoughts and emotions. Not to mention, be sure to eat well and drink a lot of water. Cry when you need to, take long walks. Most importantly forgive your body.
Along with advice to cancer patients I have advice for those who walked this battle with their loved ones; show up and do things like cooking and cleaning, especially bringing them flowers or whatever the patient wants, don’t wait to be asked. Don’t tell them you’ll be fine or minimize their feelings because it will make you feel better. Listen to them and if you can’t, drive them to a support group and don’t argue. Be patient and speak to your friends for support.
Out of all the warrior stories that we shared this month, Chiara’s hit me the hardest.
Somehow in her pragmatic, no-bullshit advice, she did a beautiful dance and painted a very real picture of what a cancer battle looks like: the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life.
Most of all, I love her advice: forgive your body.
Thank you, Chiara, for your beautiful words and allowing me to share them here. I hope your straight-shooting advice brings a little relief to the life of another warrior.
If you’re interested in helping warriors like Chiara in one small way – helping them feel beautiful again – please feel free to purchase a #PinkWINK (available here). When you buy one for yourself, we donate one to a cancer warrior, through the Breast Cancer Charities of America and the Lawrence County Cancer Patient Care Services (Bedford, Indiana).