Everything so far is going well with my breast cancer treatment. The very good piece of news that I received this week is that I have tested negative to both BRCA mutations (BRCA1 and BRCA2). So that makes me feel better for the chances of any of my six sisters coming down with breast cancer. But I guess, as we can see, you don’t need to have the mutation to get breast cancer. There is always a first in each family and I hope that it ends in our family with my diagnosis.
Earlier this week I attended a workshop put on through the American Cancer Society called Look Good Feel Better. This is for women who are going through cancer treatment and have lost or will be losing their hair, eyebrows and/or eyelashes. I was the only one there that hadn’t lost her hair yet. I am concerned about losing my eyebrows and lashes and wanted to know what to do in that case. The three women there had not lost their lashes or brows so that made me feel good. But as we know, chemo affects each person differently so only time will tell with me.
We were all supplied with a nice tote bag full of makeup and skin care products that have been donated by some really nice cosmetic companies. Each bag was geared toward your skin color. In my bag I had things from Elizabeth Arden, Mary Kay, Avon, Oil of Olay, Estee Lauder, Neutrogena, Merle Norman and Maybelline. The purpose of the workshop is to teach you how to apply makeup, deal with filling in your brows with pencils or powders, and adding color to your face to perk you up. They also teach you about different things to wear on your head in addition to wigs like scarves, and an interesting technique with the bottom portion of an old T-shirt that turns into a little cap.
The workshop was at St. Catherine’s Hospital in Kenosha. To me it felt like going to a Mary Kay party, but the only difference is that all the women in the group are battling cancer of some form. For some reason I just thought all these women would have had breast cancer. But in fact all four of us each had our own unique type of cancer. What I found most troubling is that all three of the women there had been misdiagnosed for a matter of time before they were told they had cancer. I at least found my tumor in my breast and knew either it’s cancer or it’s not. One woman had a lump or pain in her knee that they were treating as bursitis, another had a chronic cough and they were treating her for bronchitis, but it turned out to be a tumor in or near her lungs. And the third very young woman had intestinal problems over the past couple of years that they were treating as food allergies, which were actually caused by a tumor the size of an orange in her colon.
I felt like the best thing I took away from this workshop wasn’t really about applying makeup or wigs, but it was meeting these brave women and how therapeutic it was for all of us to talk about our disease and feel a common bond with each other. I may never be in touch with these women again, but I will always remember them and keep them in my thoughts and prayers while I go through my journey.
One more thing, I go on Monday for round 2 of my 4 rounds of Adriamycin and Cytoxan chemotherapy treatments. Those have been every two weeks after this I will be going once a week for 12 weeks for the Taxol treatments. From what I am told this may be the week that my hair starts coming out. Just in case I have an appointment set for Thursday to have my head shaved.