Hair loss is such a personal thing, yet it's so public when it's yours. Many women hide it because it's a visible reminder of the pain they're in. We are fighting for our lives, so why should something so superficial mean so much? Because our hair makes us feel like ourselves -- strong and pretty and whole -- and when we lose it, we feel weak and vulnerable.
Young women with breast cancer present our healthcare professionals with difficult cases. They are often diagnosed with aggressive forms of breast cancer that require tough therapies. And the powerful treatments needed to stop the cancer can cause many complex side effects for young women, including early menopause.
In February, 2012, as I worked to complete my book, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was thrust into a world of MRIs, visits to the cancer clinic, operations, radiation. I was afraid. Yet, to my surprise, I found myself writing in a more focused way than ever before, with more efficiency and less drama. Even on bad days, I headed to my desk. By disappearing into writing, I had a refuge, and to my surprise the stories I had been having trouble finishing finished themselves. The cancer may have nailed me, but I really felt, as I sat writing under that apple tree, that I was nailing it back.
Caregivers do their best to guide parents as they struggle to talk with their children about cancer, but misunderstanding, denial, and apprehension often distort the communication process. Frustration and fear can build up as parents respond to their child's curiosity with hesitation. Parents must provide appropriate information about cancer to gain the confidence they need to do the best they can for their child.
In a perfect world, Calgary entrepreneur Saundra Shapiro would have to close her business, Compassionate Beauty, because her customers wouldn't need her services anymore. But as long as cancer ravages women's bodies, Shapiro's highly specialized salon/spa and store will rack up success after bittersweet success. Compassionate Beauty offers women battling cancer and undergoing debilitating chemotherapy treatments things ordinary salon/spas don't.