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A Breast Cancer Survivor
Today, as a result of medical advances that have been made and continue to be made, women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer have a very good chance of long term survival. Even those women who have had recurrences are surviving for longer periods than ever before. This success does in no way negate the daunting emotional and physical challenges felt by women as they go through the experiences of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

As a breast cancer survivor myself, I have been through the surgery, chemo and radiation and now happily chalk up four years of survival. The thing about such an experience is that it stops you in your tracks; and forces introspection and analysis of the life you have led to date. Cancer is no picnic but there are many, many gifts to be found within the experience. Very often these gifts are only appreciated a few years down the road but they do give life an added measure of joy that simply wasn't there before.

How can anyone who has always been healthy appreciate what it is like to be going about your daily life, when out of nowhere someone tells you have cancer! How can it be? You feel great, look healthy and are enjoying your life. You can't have cancer! For myself it took quite a while for it to sink in. The turning point was when my hair started to fall out. That was when I really knew that everything everyone had been saying to me was true. I did have cancer.

Now the question was, what to do? There are many questions that must be answered about treatment options, whether or not to go into a clinical trial (I did), to take standard chemo or aggressive therapy (my choice) etc. etc. One of my oncologists told me that I could thank the women who have in the past opted for inclusion in clinical trials. She said: "The survivors of today stand on the backs of the women who have gone before..." It seemed only right to be included in the hopes that my experience, regardless of the outcome, would benefit those women who will be struck with breast cancer in the future.

My husband and I investigated everything we could about breast cancer via the Internet. We checked numerous sites, read the latest papers on current treatments etc. and had a list of questions each time we saw the oncologist. The doctors had to be on their toes because they never knew what we were going to ask next. It is absolutely amazing the reaction from physicians when they see that their patients are taking an active, informed roll in their treatment. We had their respect and it also helped us to feel more in control as we could discuss treatment options intelligently and were better able to make informed decisions. We were active participants in the whole process.

For those of you who have been diagnosed try, in spite of your natural fears, to remain optimistic. Make every effort to pamper yourself, laugh and keep up your personal appearance. All these things help make a challenging situation a little more bearable. This can be a wonderful opportunity to become more introspective and to make strides in personal growth. Turn also to God who loves us and may just have some incredible gifts for you wrapped up in this thing called cancer. Boundless blessings to the women who now struggle. Hope to all who have been touched in this way. Skin Care During Radiation Treatments for Cancer The following information is for your consideration should you, a loved one, or friend be facing the prospect of being given radiation treatment for breast cancer. Actually, any radiation treatment wherein CareLan can be applied topically to the skin is relevant here. CareLan is not meant for use internally.

Radiation for breast cancer is usually for a term of six weeks although it is sometimes longer. The ideal situation is to begin the treatments and continue with them throughout the entire period without having any interruption of treatment. The sad thing is that radiation causes burns to the skin and then the skin becomes dry, cracked and weeps. When this happens quite often treatment will be discontinued until the skin heals enough for the treatments to resume. Having been in the medical field almost my entire working life, I wanted to ensure that I received the optimum benefit from the radiation by keeping my skin whole so that there would not be any interruption of treatment.

Moist wound healing, I knew, was a medically well-known and accepted concept in skin care. In consideration of this I wanted to find a solution to my problem that would incorporate this concept. Lanolin seemed the answer and indeed it is. You may want to consider the following method of protecting your skin throughout the radiation process.

During the term of my seven weeks of radiation treatments for breast cancer, I stopped wearing a bra and began to wear my husband's cotton tee shirts. Each night before bed I would spread the lanolin onto my breast (spreads best at room temperature) and sleep in his tee shirt. In the morning I would shower, go for my treatments and immediately after the treatment and before dressing, again spread on the lanolin and slip on a fresh tee shirt to wear underneath my blouse. This routine was kept up during the entire term of my treatments.

It worked wonders and kept my skin whole during the entire period of radiation. At no time were my treatments interrupted. Everyone in the radiation department was amazed that my skin tolerated the radiation so well. If you are going for radiation, you may want to consider using CareLan to protect your skin. CareLan is sticky to the touch as any oil is, but it does work to keep the moisture in your body at the affected area (moist wound healing concept) which aids in healing. Diabetic Foot Conditions: For those who have cracked, fissured skin on their feet due to dryness or diabetes we suggest that after applying CareLan; put on a pair of loose cotton socks to protect shoes and bedding. Wear the socks all night and continue to use CareLan until the feet heal. Thereafter, apply when needed to keep the skin of the feet soft and whole. Diaper Rash: If one is experiencing diaper rash as a result of incontinence, then CareLan will help to maintain internal body moisture at the site where it will help the skin to heal. CareLan also acts as a moisture barrier to help protect against further irritation. If you are allergic to wool I would not suggest that you use CareLan as it is pure Lanolin Oil and you may experience an allergic reaction.

If you are using CareLan for diaper rash DO NOT USE it for anything else. Use each bottle for one purpose only to reduce the likelihood of cross contamination.

You can obtain CareLan from Caregivers World, Inc., by calling 800-239-4116 and asking to speak with Pat for your Empowering Caregiver's Discount or by visiting the website at: http://www.caregiversworld.com. Order Item #00214. $9.95 each for a 4 fluid oz. bottle. VISA and Mastercard accepted.

Copyrighted Pat Webster October 2000

Pat Webster
Caregivers World, Inc.
E-mail: webpat@epix.net
Web Site: http://www.caregiversworld.com

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