Feeling good, looking great.
LIFE Spring 2013
FOR VANITY Our real life portrait is a model survivor
Next of Kin Comfort+ and the Astronauts
How Fit Are Your Neurons? Stay at the top of your game
E C A MBR rve
E ever y cu
PLUS: HEALTH | BEAUTY | PORTRAITS | AND MUCH MORE
Life is beautiful in an
NEWNA E S AMO ION H S FA
fro m t he
E 12 PAG
here is something very special about Spring. I ﬁnd myself more aware of my surroundings. Not just the beautiful blooms, perfumes and colours (although totally awe inspiring) but everything around me.
©2013. All rights reserved. Amoena is a registered trademark of Amoena Medizin-Orthopädie-Technik GmbH.
Whilst living in the Blue Mountains in NSW the changing seasons were unmistakable with distinct environmental changes, and Spring brought magniﬁcent blossoms, new foliage and bird song. Now I live in the city, Spring awareness remains all around me, although on a different scale. For me there is an added dimension.
Ultra comfort with a built-in pocketed shelf bra, the Valletta camisole is the perfect companion on life’s journey. Available in sizes 10-26
The calmness in the city with the distant sound of the early morning tram is remarkably comforting. While I walk to work and pass the early morning joggers I savour the aroma of the freshly brewed coffee and baked bread as cafe owners attend to side walk tables. The crispness in the air is refreshing and not chilling as Spring brings with it the anticipation of a warm day. Spring for me initiates a heightened awareness of both nature and all things urban. I never intentionally lose touch with my surroundings, however with the demands of every day—the moments,
the daily curveballs that we navigate— sometimes become obstacles to really living. Spring gives me a reminder: Each moment is precious. We’re glad you’re saving a moment to read this issue. We had such great response to our article about healthy living in our last edition that we felt we should explore the topic further. “Body, Mind, Spirit” on page 6 reveals new ﬁndings about exercise, both for prevention of and recovery from breast cancer. Particularly intriguing is the recommendation not to wait until after treatment before beginning to exercise. As they say, your mileage may vary! You’ll also love meeting the amazing women in these pages. “No Room for Vanity”, on page 18, is a familiar face. Amoena model Michele Torres’ story only hints at the level of passion and spirit with which she lives her moments—but it’s a great hint. Moira’s story on page 26 is deeply motivating and Kae’s journey on page 28 is inspirational. So, what are you doing today? What moments will you live in? I hope you’ll embrace them. We would love to hear from you.
Cover Story Mind, Body, Spirit Taking control through exercise
Beauty and Nutrition The Art of Healthy Eating Colourful new ways to improve your diet
Real Life No Room for Vanity Our Real Life portrait is a model survivor
Feature Next of Kin: Comfort+ and the Astronauts
New Breast Forms Three new Amoena Light Weight Breast Forms: All with the InTouch Experience
Mind and Body How Fit are Your Neurons? Stay at the top of your game with brain exercises
Get this Glow! Swimwear: 2013 Collection
Fashion New Amoena styles for Home, Active, Everyday, and Seduction
Portrait Moira‘s Story
Roxanne Parker Editor
Portrait Kae‘s Journey: Running the London Marathon
Publisher Amoena Australia Pty Ltd
To ﬁnd a retailer near you, visit www.amoena.com.au or call 1800 773 285 www.amoena.com.au
Editor Roxanne Parker
Contributors Christina Relf, Dianne Armitage, Beth Leibson, Teresa Werth
Your FREE Gift with Purchase
Art Director Shan Willoughby Design Stephanie Conboy, Live Oak Design; Dianne Lyndon, Red Pepper Design
Feeling good, looking great.
Photography Dorothea Craven, iStockPhoto, Shutterstock, Veer, Amoena GmbH
LIFE Spring 2013
FOR VANITY Our real life portrait is a model survivor
Next of Kin
Contact Amoena Life, Level 1 235 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065, 1800 773 285
Comfort+ and the Astronauts
How Fit Are Your Neurons? Stay at the top of your game
The entire contents of this publication is copyrighted by Amoena Australia Pty Ltd 2013. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of the contents in any manner is strictly prohibited without prior written permission from the publisher. Amoena Life magazine is published twice a year and is available by request. Amoena Life magazine is distributed to subscribers.
E BRryAC curve EMeve
PLUS: HEALTH | BEAUTY | PORTRAITS | AND MUCH MORE
On the cover O Our cover model, Renee, age O 60 is a breast cancer survivor. 6 Hair and make-up John Elliott, H photographer Dorothea Craven. ph p
Get this Glow! This time of year, nothing sounds more inviting than the warm glow of the sun. We made it easy to glow in this season’s dramatic swimwear styles and colours.
Indian Ocean Tank, 12-24
Arabian Sea Tankini, 10-20
Arabian Sea Tank, 12-24
A few more of this season’s exciting styles.
Want to see mor e?
Coral Sea Worn by
Michele, 51 survivor model
Stunning side-shirred tank in brown, splashed with bright turquoise.
To view the complete 2013 T Amoena Amo swimwear collection, visit v www.amoena.com.au
Tasman Sea Swimdress, 12-24
Atlantic Ocean Surplice Tank, 12-24
Click C on the Store Locator to ﬁnd n an Amoena retailer near you or call 1800 773 285.
Tank, 10-22 4 | Amoena Life
Amoena Life | 5
>>> COVER STORY
Amoena survivor models are living life to the fullest!
By Beth Leibson
SAFE TO SAY THAT SOCIETY HAS ACCEPTED THE BODY - MIND - SPIRIT CONNECTION ,
ESPECIALLY IN TIMES OF STRESS AND ILLNESS .
IS FIRMLY BEHIND THE IDEA
THAT ONE OF THE KEYS TO ALL THREE IS TO TAKE CARE OF THE FIRST : THE BODY .
ARE NOW TRYING TO DETERMINE SPECIFIC WAYS THAT EXERCISE IMPROVES
THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH CANCER
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BEFORE , DURING AND AFTER DIAGNOSIS .
Early ﬁrst menses, late menopause, breast density, age at ﬁrst childbirth, family history of the disease. There are so many risk factors for breast cancer that are completely out of our control. It feels like there’s nothing much that women can do to avoid initial diagnosis or recurrence of the disease. But that’s not quite the case. “There are things we can do each and every day to reduce the risk of breast cancer, to improve chances of not dying from breast cancer, and to decrease the risk of recurrence,” says Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, Director of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the American Cancer Society. Ironically, it turns out that one of the best things women can do to preserve their health goes against the wisdom of decades. For years, oncologists, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals have told women during and after cancer treatment to take it easy, rest, relax. Focus on getting well and catch up on your reading. But it turns out that one of the best ways to focus on getting well is to get up off that sofa and engage in regular physical activity. LET’S GET PHYSICAL & STATISTICAL People who exercise are less likely to get breast cancer than those who are less physically active, says Jennifer Ligibel, MD, medical oncologist at Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Speciﬁcally, women who are physically active on a regular basis are between 25 and 30 percent less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, according to Ligibel. A study at the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungazentrum) in Heidelberg, led by Drs. Karen Steindorf and Jenny Chang-Claude, found that there are some things women can do to lower their risk of breast cancer. Speciﬁcally, the researchers found that 19.4 percent of invasive postmenopausal breast cancers are attributed to hormone replacement therapy and 12.8 percent to a lack of physical activity. Combined, these two factors explain nearly a third of breast cancer cases, say the investigators. “That means that two factors which each woman has in her own hands are responsible for a similar number of post-
— Jennifer Ligibel, MD
But it can make a big difference—and it is one of the few concrete steps that women can take to improve their health. Exercise is good for overall health, notes Doyle. It can improve cardiovascular ﬁtness, muscle strength, bone health and body composition and can also play a role in weight loss, which has its own beneﬁts. Regular physical activity can also improve the quality of life, by decreasing levels of stress, anxiety and depression and improving self-esteem, Doyle adds. “It may seem counter-intuitive,” says Doyle, “but exercise can also lessen fatigue.” “Regular physical activity is good for everyone,” says Ligibel. “But there is good evidence that exercise is especially helpful for cancer survivors, especially breast, colon, and prostate cancer.”
menopausal breast cancer cases as the non-modiﬁable factors,” notes Steindorf. Another study, published in 2007 by Dr. Leslie Bernstein of the University of Southern California, found that women who exercised strenuously for ﬁve hours a week lowered their risk of invasive breast cancer, particularly of Oestrogen receptor-negative invasive breast cancer, when compared with women who were less active. The challenge with these studies (and most others that have been completed to date) is that they are observational; none are randomised, observes Ligibel. As a result, it is possible that women who are already doing better—the ones who are in better health, who are eating better, and who are more conscientious about taking their medicines—may be the ones reporting their results to the researchers. “We cannot prove a causal relationship based on these studies,” says Ligibel, though there is clearly a relationship between physical activity and improved rates of survivorship. But the accumulated data are meaningful. In fact, Doyle notes that the American Cancer Society has been publishing articles about the importance of physical activity since the year 2000. “But now the data are strong enough to call our recommendations ‘Guidelines,’” Doyle adds, which is a big step. Of course, exercise is not completely protective, Ligibel notes. “Marathon runners get breast cancer, too,” she says.
WHEN TO START AND WHAT TO DO “Today is the best time to start to exercise. There is no point at which exercise cannot help prevent breast cancer from starting in the ﬁrst place or from recurring,” says Ligibel. Exercise before treatment begins, during treatment, and after treatment are all linked to a decrease in recurrence. In general, moderate exercise translates into a twenty-minute mile, says Ligibel, though the precise deﬁnition may vary from study to study. “These women are not marathoners,” she adds. “They spend three hours a week doing moderate walking.” That’s encouraging; exercise can help your life and prolong your life, but it needn’t completely take over your life. Moderate physical activities, according to the American Cancer Society, are ones that you can perform while talking, but not while singing. They include a range of sports and daily activities, such as: • ice and roller skating • horseback riding • yoga • downhill skiing • golf • volleyball • baseball • badminton • brisk walking • mowing the lawn • raking and trimming shrubs • doing housework
“It doesn’t matter what you do, you just need to get your heart rate up, sweat, and do at least ten to fifteen minutes of physical activity at a time.”
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>>> COVER STORY
AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY RECOMMENDATIONS The American Cancer Society recommends that everyone adopt a physically active lifestyle. Specifically, the society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Prevention suggests that:
Adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderateintensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week—or an equivalent combination, preferably spread throughout the week.
Children and adolescents should engage in at least one hour of moderate or vigorous intensive activity each day, with vigorous intensity activity at least three days a week.
Everyone should limit sedentary behavior, such as sitting, lying down, watching television and other screen-based entertainment.
8 | Amoena Life
Of course, there are many more examples. Both aerobic and strength/ resistance training are important, according to the American Cancer Society guidelines. Most people who exercise focus on aerobic training and as a result, points out Ligibel, most studies likewise look primarily at aerobic exercise. Resistance training, though, can be particularly helpful in improving bone health and density, muscle strength and ﬂexibility. Studies show that weight training can decrease the incidence and severity of lymphoedema, notes Doyle. Indeed, the American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors (2012) states that moderate resistance training during and after treatment can help survivors maintain lean muscle mass while avoiding excess body fat. “Historically, women have been told to not do upper body weight training for fear of getting or worsening lymphoedema,” says Doyle. But that is not the case. “Women do not have to be afraid of weight training.” In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, a number of studies have shown that this sort of physical activity is not only safe, but can actually reduce the incidence and severity of lymphoedema. The American Cancer Society recommends progressive resistance training, working with a trained exercise therapist and using appropriate compression garments. “It’s interesting,” says Ligibel, “that while more exercise is not bad, you get more bang for your buck with consistent, moderate physical activity.” While it rarely hurts to exercise more, says the medical oncologist and researcher, it is more helpful to perform consistent and moderate exercise— perhaps taking a good, brisk walk every day—than to run a marathon and then take a month off to rest. “It doesn’t matter what you do,” says Ligibel. “You just need to get your heart rate up, sweat, and do at least ten to ﬁfteen minutes of physical activity at a time.”
MAINTAINING THE IDEAL WEIGHT Obesity is also a concern. According to the American Cancer Society, there is a strong connection between being overweight or obese and an increased risk of many types of cancers, including breast cancer among postmenopausal women. While it is best to achieve your optimal weight, the American Cancer Society says that it is helpful to simply avoid weight gain during treatment. And intentional weight loss following treatment may be associated with health beneﬁts, even if you don’t reach your ideal weight, notes the organisation in its Guidelines. Even losing just 5 or 10 percent of your weight can play a big role in avoiding recurrence. Healthcare professionals determine a healthy weight for an individual by using the body mass index (BMI), which determines the ideal weight based on the person’s height. To check your own status, you can use the BMI calculator developed by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health; you can access it at: http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/ LAB LESSONS: HOW IT WORKS Now that researchers have determined that exercise can help prevent cancer, the question arises: how does this work? One researcher, Lee Jones, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, notes that most of the studies—the ones we’ve been talking about and others—are observational for a simple reason: It’s hard to conduct a controlled experiment with humans. We’re kind of difficult to control. Jones, who has three appointments: Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology, Associate Professor of Pathology, and Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, is conducting studies on mice to explore the relationship between exercise and tumour size. While the results are still preliminary, he has found that tumours grow 30 percent more slowly in female mice on an exercise routine than those that are sedentary. The exercise was all aerobic, not resistance-focused.
Jones is also ﬁnding that when female mice exercise while in treatment, particularly during chemotherapy, the treatment is more effective. “When mice exercise, it improves the delivery of chemotherapy to the tumours,” Jones explains. It does not, fortunately, affect the spread of chemo cocktails to healthy tissue; somehow the chemicals know just where to go. “My personal bias, with the limited data,” says Jones, “is for women diagnosed to exercise as soon as possible. Pre-surgery, during therapy, the whole time. We know how bad doing nothing is. Exercising as soon as possible is the way to go.” But no research method is perfect. The difficulty with studies in rats, says Ligibel, is that mice and people are different. People are more complex, she explains; we have more control over what and when we eat, for instance, than mice in a cage. As a result, it is difficult to generalise from studies in rats to behaviour in human beings. As a result, researchers have been trying to ﬁgure out what causes these improved outcomes in humans. “When people start to exercise,” says Ligibel, “the hormone levels that are linked to breast cancer change in a positive direction.” Speciﬁcally, insulin and Oestrogen levels decrease while levels of other hormones that are better when higher tend to increase. Ligibel and colleagues at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute have shed some light on this phenomenon. Researchers measured insulin and blood glucose levels in 101 women, along with their weight, body composition and circumference of waist and hips. Half of the women performed a 16-week regimen of cardiovascular and strength training while the other half were left to their own devices. At the end of the experiment, the women who exercised had lowered their insulin measurements
by an amount that approached statistical signiﬁcance. In addition, the women who were more active reduced their hip circumference. “Our ﬁndings suggest that the effects of exercise on breast cancer prognosis may be mediated, at least in part, through changes in insulin levels and/or changes in fat mass or deposition,” says Ligibel, who headed up the study. Additional studies are looking at changes at a cellular level, trying to determine how patients can decrease the rate of growth of cancer tumors. The results are still preliminary, though we will hopefully know more soon. Another area that researchers are looking into is trying to determine the volume and type of exercise that is most effective in ﬁghting cancer. “We want to be able to personalise exercise, just as we personalise chemotherapy” for the individual patient. In the meantime, Jones suggests women follow the American Cancer Society’s general recommendations on physical activity (see sidebar). CAVEAT EXERCISER While exercise is important in decreasing cancer risk, you don’t want to run outside and start immediately with a ten-mile jog. Keep in mind any special considerations. “Someone who’s not active at all should probably start with ten minutes of physical activity a few days a week,” says Ligibel. “It is important to set realistic goals and to work hard at meeting them.” Doyle recommends taking into account how active you were before the cancer diagnosis as well as the type of cancer and treatment received. She recommends that you delay activity if you are anaemic; wait until your iron levels rise. If you’re in radiation treatment, avoid chlorine as it might aggravate already sensitive
skin. If you have a catheter or port, avoid resistance training in that part of the body (say, the upper body). And if you are experiencing extreme fatigue, don’t push yourself. Patients should also be careful about where they exercise. Someone in chemotherapy who has a low white cell count should avoid public gyms and public pools. And someone who has had a bone marrow transplant should probably stay away from public places for about a year, says Doyle. In addition, for people who are older who have bone disease or signiﬁcant impairments such as arthritis or neuropathy, it is important to focus on balance. You don’t want to fall. The American Cancer Society recommends, in these cases, that patients stick with a stationary reclining bicycle, for example, rather than walking on a treadmill. Ultimately it boils down to this: If you are in treatment, do what you can do now and try to do more when you can do more. Just keep moving. As Doyle explains, the goal is to avoid inactivity. “Exercise has beneﬁts all through treatment and afterwards. It’s an investment in a woman’s health and hopefully will prove to lower her risk of dying from breast cancer.” |
Beth Leibson lives and writes in New York City. She is author of I’m Too Young to Have Breast Cancer (Lifeline Press, 2004).
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>>> BEAUTY & NUTRITION
COLOURFUL THE ART OF
Colourful new ways to improve your diet
Forget all the usual business about diet or calories—instead we’re going to be talking about the art of smart and healthy eating. Take some practical advice, a little theory, add a heaping measure of user-friendliness and you have all the ingredients for a nutritional must-read. ADDING TO YOUR WEALTH OF HEALTH
WHAT’S AN ANTIOXIDANT?
Eating properly means sticking to a varied and balanced diet—anything in moderation but with an emphasis on healthy foods (fruits and vegetables, starches, ﬁsh, etc.) and limiting your consumption of sweetened products like candy and sugary drinks, salty snacks and fatty foods (prepared meats, butter, cream, etc.). This dietary balance doesn’t have to be strictly applied to every meal or even to every day, but it should work out over each week. There’s no such thing as a forbidden food or a miracle food, and a few light meals will make up for the occasional feast. The lipids, proteins and carbohydrates in our food are what provides our fuel. Combined with plenty of vitamins, minerals and micronutrients, these food calories will be full of nutritional value. So add to your store of health every day by favouring quality foods rich in cell-nourishing nutrition.
• Oxygen (the word is within antioxidant) is vital for life and for the production of energy in our cells. • By-products of this energy production are toxic derivatives of oxygen (free radicals). These have to be neutralised by antioxidants which act like ﬁreﬁghters to prevent harmful degradation of the cells themselves. • The antioxidants in our food come mostly from plants: fruits, vegetables, spices, green tea and ﬁrst cold-pressed oils. • Different colours of fruit, vegetable or spice indicate a different type of antioxidant. • White, yellow, green, purple and red are the ﬁve main colours. • Use the produce of the season and of your area to put some colour on your plate. • Then add spices for even greater health beneﬁts and to protect the cells in your body.
THINK SEASONAL AND REGIONAL Choose locally grown and seasonal fruits and vegetables. This is good for the planet, your plate and your local economy. Locally grown fruits and vegetables draw vitamins and minerals from the soil and soak up the sun and so provide you with lots of energy. And they deliver their nutrients to you without being degraded by travel and long storage times.
10 | Amoena Life
TURMERIC, THE GOLDEN SPICE Brilliant orange turmeric tops the list of good-for-you spices thanks to the antioxidant curcumin it contains. A teaspoon daily with a dash of pepper, added to soups, salad dressings or the main course, makes a wonderful addition to your body’s store of antioxidants.
HELLO FROM SUNNY QUEENSLAND! I LOVE BEING AN AMOENA REPRESENTATIVE, BUT I ALSO LOVE CREATING (AND OF COURSE EATING!) HEALTHY FOOD.
BEETROOT AND CARROT SALAD 2 medium beetroot, peeled and grated 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated 1 apple, grated 2 oranges, peeled and chopped 1 bunch each coriander (cilantro), mint and chives, chopped A handful of dried Cranberries 1 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds 2 tablespoons ﬂaxseed or olive oil Mix together and top with cashews, pecans or walnuts
We all want to look and feel our best, and healthy eating is a key ingredient, but with so much conﬂicting information it has become very confusing for us. Women who have experienced a breast cancer diagnosis are especially sensitive to the need to look after their health, but what is the right thing to do?
A delicious light meal on its own or a brilliant side dish. Enjoy!
I particularly like author Michael Pollan’s take on this subject: “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much”. Boring? Plain? Never! Try this Beetroot and Carrot Salad. It’s bursting with lovely, fresh ﬂavours and vibrant colour. Loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and good fats.
GET YOUR FULL
QUOTA OF ANTIOXIDANTS: use this colour guide to choose a minimum of 5 differently coloured fruits and vegetables a day.
COMPOUNDS OF SULPHUR & SELENIUM: Garlic Onions Apples Celery
BETACAROTENE, QUERCETIN: Pumpkins Carrots Sweet potatoes Apricots Bananas Papayas Mangos Yellow peppers Yellow tomatoes
CHLOROPHYLL GREEN CAN HIDE THE PRESENCE OF YELLOW COMPOUNDS LIKE BETACAROTENE, LUTEINE, ETC. Spinach Broccoli Brussels sprouts Kale
LYCOPENE & POLYPHENOLS: POLYPHENOLS: Eggplant Black currants Raspberries Blackberries Prunes Raisins
Beets Red cabbage Red onions Red radishes Tomatoes Cherries Strawberries Red apples
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>>> ACTIVEWEAR BEATE, BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR MODEL
RESTFUL PILLOW MIST Who knew you could make a pillow more relaxing? Try a pillow mist and anxieties will vanish like a dream. Photo credit: © Marks and Spencer
DO-GOOD WATER Every bottle helps fund global efforts to feed the hungry, save the earth, house the homeless and more. Find out more at www.project7.com Photo credit: © Project 7, Inc. 2008
Short Sleeve Top XS-XL Pants XS-XXL
TODAY we will
WE WILL ALLOW OURSELVES A RESTFUL NIGHT, AND WAKE UP TO RISE AND SHINE.
DOWNTIME Comfort day or night, Amoena’s Leisure Form is like a BFF for those lazy days. The washable cover keeps the form clean and fresh. Tuck it into the pocket of a nightgown for extra comfort while you sleep.
WE SEE IN THE LOCKER-ROOM MIRROR. BEATE, BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR MODEL
Lace Nightdress S - XL
Jennifer Sports Bra 10-22 AA,A,B,C,D,DD Pants XS-XXL
Matte Shiny Pyjama Set S - XXL KEEP TRACK
Racer Back Top XS-XXL
Counting laps or tracking calories? Experts say to write it down. Try an app like the Workout Journal for your smart devices.
Pants XS-XXL 12 | Amoena Life
Amoena Life | 13
CINCH Show off your Spring style in a belted trench coat like this one from Autograph — they’re all the rage! Photo credit: © Marks and Spencer
Lighten your load this Spring with apps like Happier to help you stay in tune with the important things in life.
FREG OUT Planning meals makes on-the-go days way ‘cooler.’ Try a cooler bag like this one and you’ll be carrying your lunch in style. Photo credit: ©
Janina Underwire 10-20 B; 12-20 C,D Janina Brief 8-20
MICHELE, BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR MODEL
Karla Brief 8-18
ANNETTE, BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR MODEL
ALL AROUND THE TOWN
Karla Soft Cup 10-20 A,B; 12-20 C,D
BRAVE THE CURVES
IN TODAY’S ROAD; WE WILL JOIN IN OUR DAILY LANDSCAPES (AND ESCAPES). RENEE, BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR MODEL
Lara Dots Brief 8-20
Renee, breast cancer survivor
Lara Dots Soft Cup 10-20 AA,A,B,C,D
HAPPY HOUR SAY IT WITH SHINE Refresh with a shimmery swipe of high gloss. Lip glosses in Rose Gold and Soft Pink are the “in” colours for Spring Photo credit: © M&S
COSY CONVENIENCE Lara Comfort Soft Cup 10-22 B,C,D,DD
Designer ballet ﬂats like these that ﬁt in your purse will get you to and from that 5 o’clock meeting toute ute de suite! Janina Pocketed Camisole 8-18
JUST PINK OCTOBER!
Janina Brief 8-20
IN TIME FOR
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Amoena Life | 15
YOU’RE SO DEEP You could call it a “cool” colour but these days, it’s deﬁnitely hot. Deep blue nail polish keeps you in trend.
Anna Soft Cup 10-14 A; 10-18 B,C,D Anna Brief 8-20
PLAY IT PRIM Love these new neutrals. Asian-inﬂuenced prints like this Autograph Oriental print are in-style! Demure and divine! Photo credit: © M&S
DATE NIGHT UNFORGETTABLE
Valerie Soft Cup 10-14 A; 10-18 B,C,D Valerie Brief 8-20
WE WILL MAKE
ADD ADORNMENTS What about some jewels like this Catwalk Pearl Statement Bracelet to sparkle you through the night? We say yes. Photo credit: ©Accessorize
Anna Pocketed Camisole 10-14 A; 10-18 B,C,D Anna Brief 8-20
Valerie Underwire 10-14 A; 10-20 B,C; 34-44 D,DD,DDD Valerie Boyleg 8-16
WANT TO SEE MORE? View the complete collections at www.amoena.com.au Click on the Store Locator to ﬁnd a retailer near you.
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Marks and Spencer and Accessorize are London-based stores that ship internationally. Find them at www.marksandspencer.com and www.accessorize.com.
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>>> REAL LIFE
various different agencies—I am a novelty model. I always get applause when I do runway shows, because of my hair. I did have reconstruction but I have no nipples, and my breasts do not look normal. But you can’t wear a bra or prosthesis when you do runway shows, so I just let it be. I ﬁgure somewhere in the audience there may be a woman who needs to see this.” By simply being herself, Michele has become an ambassador for breast cancer survivors. “I ﬁgure maybe it’s my job, in some small way. Sometimes people wait around after the show, wanting to talk to me. And backstage, some girls look at my chest when I am changing. I always say, ‘Don’t be afraid—this is what a double mastectomy looks like.’ I think I help to make it normal. It’s also a way of saying, ‘I am a model and I am not perfect. Nobody is perfect—it’s not something to be ashamed of.’” Michele’s new look also helped her to win a modelling contract with Amoena—a ﬁtting coincidence, since she already loved their clothes. “They wanted a breast-operated model,” she explained. “I got the call from my agent and I remember rushing upstairs and putting on my Amoena camisole—a much-worn top that had been my saviour during the early days after my mastectomy. I took a photo of myself in that camisole and sent it to my agent, who sent it on to Amoena. I got the job there and then.” Michele went
But in 2009, her whole existence was turned upside down. “My baby brother, Jon, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. It was such a shock. He fought it for 16 months and died, aged just 46, in October 2010.” She dropped everything and joined the rest of the family in nursing Jon, even trying to ignore a scare of her own when she found a hard lump in her left breast. “I knew it wasn’t right—I went for a scan and biopsy, and I got the results just two weeks after Jon had died. It was grade three breast cancer.” Still grieving for her brother, Michele was catapulted into treatment—a bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy: “I told my doctor I wanted him to take both breasts. I didn’t want to be ever worried about breast cancer again. I looked at it as a way of starting over.”.
FINDING A NEW ‘NORMAL’
MICHELE TORRES MODEL SURVIVOR Professional model, TV presenter and voiceover artist Michele Torres is probably heard by millions of people every day. But her recent cancer experiences have given her a different story to tell. Cover model for the Autumn 2013 issue of Amoena Life, Michele Torres is beautiful, talented and successful—to an outsider, she would seem blessed indeed. And yet when tragedy struck her family in 2009, Michele was forced to reassess her life and rebuild it from the foundations up. Diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer just two weeks after losing her dearly beloved youngest brother to a brain tumour, she was suddenly catapulted into a kind of “no-man’s-land” where her beauty and talent no longer mattered: “When cancer strikes, you don’t know who you are,” she says. “You have to recreate yourself.” She lost weight; she lost her hair and could not rely on her looks to earn her living. But Michele’s resilience allowed her to come back from cancer with renewed optimism and zest for life.
THE SCENIC ROUTE Michele, 51, is one of four children, born and raised outside Los Angeles in Ontario, California. Her parents are still happily married after 57 years and she describes her family as “very tight knit.” By her own admission, she had an amazing childhood— she attended the world-renowned UCLA but did not graduate from there: “I partied too hard to really focus on my studies. My
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parents always said I took the scenic route through life, whereas my brothers and sister were more studious. That’s about right!” Michele had been modelling part-time while at UCLA. “Ever since I was about seven years old and saw my ﬁrst fashion magazine, I’d wanted to be a model,” she says. And while she eventually gained not just one degree, but several, including a Masters in Psychology and Sociology, it was to the advertising world that she was drawn when she started full-time work. Luckily for Michele, this small agency was very hands-on, which meant that she was not just expected to write scripts for TV and radio ads, but to record them herself “It brought together my modelling and my creativity, teaching me how to be in front of a camera and how to use my voice ” In what would still seem to be a charmed existence, Michele slipped easily into a full-time modelling, acting and television career. Her voiceover work fulﬁlled a very early ambition: “When I was little I used to dial up the speaking clock and just listen to the female announcer telling the time of day,” she recalls. “I was fascinated by it.” 40 years later, Michele is now the voice of AT&T telephone services and several other automated telephone systems, in both English and Spanish.
Having breast cancer meant Michele found out more about herself than she ever knew before: “I had become used to a fabulous life—I was living the dream. But cancer is a great leveller. To have bits of myself taken away was shocking. I felt as though my whole identity was gone.” Her survival instinct fortiﬁed by a determination not to let her parents bury another child, Michele knew she would ﬁnd her feet, although she confesses that re-orienting herself was very challenging at ﬁrst: “When you’re going through treatment, you cope by simply not having expectations L IF E “T “They wanted a breast-operated model,” Painting a about anything—you are ﬂat. The self that Brighter s she explained. “I got the call from my Picture you had known is gone and you have a new Smooth agent and I remember rushing upstairs Moves ‘normal.’ I describe it to friends like a crazy roller and putting on my Amoena camisole. I coaster ride—normally you would get on at point took a photo of myself in that camisole Green s Is ‘A’ and eventually get dropped off there again. the new and sent it to my agent, who sent it on Pink? With cancer, you get on the ride and it’s fast and to Amoena. I got the job there and then.” winding and it goes upside down and turns your —Michele Torres stomach inside out, and you get dropped off way over there—it’s like you started in London and are dropped drro d opp pped pp ed ed on to model for Amoena’s 2013-14 product catalogs, as well off in Munich. You don’t speak the language and you don’t as appearing in Amoena Life magazine. know how you got there. When your treatments are over you Michele is now looking forward to wearing the new Amoena are supposed to be normal again, but you don’t know who Active collection in an exciting project she’s developing, to you are. You have to recreate yourself. And I don’t think there help other women who have been through breast cancer get are a lot of programs out there to help you deal with that.” back to full health again. “I want to ﬁnd a personal trainer Committed to keeping her career going, Michele focused who specialises in working with breast cancer survivors, and on voiceover work once she could no longer be in front of the together we’re going to make a video blog,” she explains. camera: “I have a studio in my house, so when I felt strong “We’ll approach it holistically—diet, nutrition, exercise and enough, I could still work as a voiceover artist.” But when her the spiritual side of recovery. And it will be ‘no holds barred’ hair started growing back, she discovered a whole new look. —I will show them my bare chest, I want to be open and “I think my modelling days would have been over had I not honest and let everybody see.” gone in a different direction. But I decided to keep my hair Summing up the attitude that has informed her entire short and grey, and I entered a nationwide modelling contest approach to life, Michele says: “I don’t take myself too for mature models. I was chosen ﬁrst runner-up out of 7,000 seriously—I can’t. I’ve gone from having what many people entrants. It opened up an amazing new strand to my career.” would consider to be ‘everything’ to losing my entire identity. It BODY BEAUTIFUL is a very humbling experience.” She refuses to tell people what The Wilhelmina Models 2012 Over 30 Model Search was a to do, emphasising that everybody’s journey is their own, but very high proﬁle contest, run by one of the world’s most stresses that reaching out to others was key to her recovery: prestigious model agencies. As ﬁrst runner-up, Michele “I made the most of all the help my friends and neighbours felt she had been given a second chance. “Cancer wasn’t offered. Nobody is a ‘no-need woman.’ If you ever thought that what I had planned—it was what I was given. I decided to about yourself, think again. I let go of control and I let people go with it, and this was the result. Now I have contracts with love me. It’s what got me through.” | looking great. Feeling good,
A utumn 2013
creation One woman’s trauma of beauty over
Try these gentle, safe yoga poses
Four Corners, One Journey the
Survivors around stories globe share their
after breast Lifestyle changes
MORE S | AND MUCH | BEAUTY | PORTRAIT PLUS: HEALTH
Real women, real lives. When we share each other’s life stories, we learn about ourselves, too. Search for “real life” at www.amoena.com.au to read more inspiring articles like this one.
Amoena Life | 19
Breast Form Product Manager
THE FUTURE OF
ABOUT FOUR YEARS AGO, AMOENA EMBARKED ON ANOTHER QUEST TO IMPROVE THE COMFORT OF OUR BREAST FORMS, AND TODAY WE’RE INCORPORATING THE RESULTS OF THAT MISSION. OUR NEW SOFTER SILICONE IS NOW BEING USED FOR ALL LIGHTWEIGHT AMOENA BREAST FORMS, AND YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE IT. “It wasn’t just about the softness,” says Brigitte Seehaus, Global Product Manager for Breast Forms. “We wanted a lightweight breast form that would ‘bounce back’ naturally after being touched—and most importantly, we needed to ensure its durability over years of wear.” Amoena conducted comprehensive durability testing, plus wear tests with more than 60 women in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Spain. One woman commented, “My husband loves the new softness.” This is a signiﬁcant compliment! Seehaus continues, “Now we have a complete portfolio of products that are natural, durable and the softest silicone ever.” The future of breast forms looks very comfortable, indeed.
NEXT OF KIN:
COMFORT+ & THE ASTRONAUTS
Exploring the history of Comfort+ and its connection to humanity’s greatest achievement
You probably don’t hear any heart-stirring crescendo of trumpets and timpani when you put your Comfort+ breast form in your bra every morning. But you could, if you’re of the movie-soundtrack persuasion, because Comfort+ has a connection to one of the most profound and meaningful achievements in human history—space exploration. Comfort+ was born of a proud partnership with Outlast Technologies and utilises phase change materials (PCM) that absorb, store and release heat for optimal thermal comfort. Originally developed for NASA, for use in space gloves to protect astronauts from extreme temperature ﬂuctuations, this PCM is now integrated into many different applications and products that we use in everyday life.
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THE OUTLAST DIFFERENCE? IT’S PROACTIVE Outlast® technology provides extra-sensory comfort to the Amoena breast form and apparel—and to astronauts, as well—by proactively working to manage the build-up of heat and moisture. A key differentiator of Comfort+ is that it’s a preemptive technology; it works to balance temperature before the body begins to sweat, unlike reactive technologies that only work once the body has started to sweat to wick the moisture away. IN OTHER WORDS, COMFORT+ GOES BEYOND. Thirty-ﬁve years ago when the ﬁrst silicone breast forms were developed, Amoena’s main focus was to create a shape and softness that was as close as possible to a natural breast. But
©Outlast Technologies LLC. Used with permission
we continued to develop beyond the status quo. Women told us they felt hot between the breast form and their chest wall, so we began testing different methods to alleviate the problem. Then in 2008, we partnered with Outlast to introduce and patent Comfort+ breast forms. Unlike other solutions, Comfort+ forms: ABSORB—they pull heat away from the chest wall; STORE—they keep that heat in the form, until there is a decrease in temperature; and RELEASE—they allow the heat to return to the body, to maintain a near-constant body temperature as a woman wears them. Today we’re adding the temperature-equalising capability to not only breast forms, but also to some of our textiles and fashion products. CONTINUED PERFORMANCE We like to think of it this way: The greatest thing to happen to breast forms is closely related to one of the greatest adventures in human history. It’s more than just a comfortable solution to help you manage your everyday life—it’s a truly historic achievement. |
ASK YOUR AMOENA RETAILER ABOUT INTOUCH AT YOUR NEXT FITTING.
FEEL THE INTOUCH SOFT SILICONE EXPERIENCE FOR YOURSELF WITH NEW ENERGY. It’s not just the silicone that has become softer on Amoena’s Energy breast form, the threedimensional pearl surface on the back has too! And with the addition of air-flow channels, all these features maximise ventilation to help reduce perspiration behind the form. Combined with the heat absorption benefits of Comfort+, and you might forget you’re wearing a breast form.
Amoena Life | 21
>>> >> > FEATURE FEATUR RE
NEW BREAST FORMS <<<
COMFORT+ UNEXPECTED SURPRISE! MOST WOMEN WHO TRY COMFORT+ AREN’T EXPECTING THE RESULTS THEY FEEL. EVEN THE SAVVIEST CONSUMERS AROUND THE WORLD HAVE BEEN DELIGHTFULLY SURPRISED TO LEARN WHAT A DIFFERENCE COMFORT+ REALLY MAKES. IT CAN BE A MOMENT OF CLARITY AND RELIEF YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE MISSING. READ HERE WHAT THREE DELIGHTED COMFORT+ WEARERS HAVE TO SAY.
CAROLINE — AGE 40, QUEBEC, CANADA “Since I have been wearing my Amoena breast form with Comfort+, I feel great about myself. The difference in how it feels and wears is incredible. It gives me more freedom and I don’t get that uncomfortable heat and moisture on my skin anymore. I adore it!”
…I feel great about myself…
MAGGIE — AGE 40, POLAND
THREE NEW AMOENA LIGHT WEIGHT BREAST FORMS ALL WITH THE INTOUCH EXPERIENCE
“My ﬁrst breast form was a one-layer form; I thought, ‘Well, this is what a breast form can offer.’ Changing to Comfort+ was like winning something—a new quality of life. In summer or in winter, my skin under the breast form stays comfortably dry. In combination with Contact, it is the perfect solution. I don’t ever think about reconstruction.”
…the perfect solution…. So soft, so natural, Amoena’s softest silicone is easy to fit and more natural to touch. By producing the softest silicone that maintains our standard for durability, we created a wearing experience that may make you forget your breast form is even there.
ANN — AGE 64, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA
“My life changed in 1983, when I was diagnosed with cancer, but it changed again when I was ﬁtted with the Amoena Contact in the early '90s. The pain in my neck was gone instantly; I felt whole again. Now I wear the Contact with Comfort+, which absorbs heat and stores it. It keeps the chest wall and the form at the same temperature—how clever is that? My son has moved to hot and dusty Mt. Isa, but my breast form never moves. It stays right there on my chest wall (it takes a lot of perspiration to push off a size 9 breast form, and I just don’t perspire that much)! I wear it for at least 16 hours a day, every day. I never think about it.”
…I never think about it…
ENHANCEMENTS BALANCE ENHANCERS, OR PARTIAL SHAPERS, ARE CURVED TO MATCH THE BODY’S SHAPE, PERFECTLY FILLING THE BRA CUP. THEIR THIN, TAPERED EDGES MAKE THEM INVISIBLE UNDER CLOTHING—BUT THE EFFECT THEY HAVE ON YOUR FIGURE WON’T GO UNNOTICED. ALL BALANCE ENHANCERS NOW FEATURE COMFORT+.
CONTACT LIGHT 2S
ENERGY LIGHT 2S
NATURA LIGHT 2U
Comfort+ technology absorbs excess body heat and reduces perspiration behind the form during a rise in body temperature, therefore keeping the Contact breast form more securely attached.
More air ﬂow and better heat absorption help reduce perspiration behind the form for even your most active days. And now with InTouch soft silicone, the improved Energy forms are more ﬂexible than ever, helping to provide the perfect ﬁt.
With changes in surgical trends and comfort in mind the new Natura Light 2U is so soft and natural it makes an ideal ﬁrst form.
BALANCE OVAL *Also available in Tawny; all sizes.
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Tell us your story! We’d love to hear about your surprise and delight! Tell your Comfort+ story at www.facebook.com/pages/Amoena-Australia
To find an Amoena retailer near you, visit the store locator at www.amoena.com.au or call 1800 773 285. Amoena Life | 23
>>> MIND & BODY
CHECK OUT THESE RESOURCES Lumosity.com — Offers both free and paid plans, and you can customise your “workouts” to what you want to achieve —better memory, improvement in learning names/faces, thinking creatively, even doing faster mental calculations. A mobile version is also available for free in the iTunes App Store.
ANAGRAM ACTION How many different words can you make from the letters in this phrase?
BrainAge — This highly rated video game series for the Nintendo DS is based on the work of a Japanese neuroscientist and incorporates simple math problem solving, classical literature, Sudoku and more. You use the touch screen and stylus for a very interactive experience.
PositScience.com and Brain HQ—Paid and free subscriptions available. Brain HQ’s exercises are designed to improve Attention, Memory, Brain Speed, Intelligence, People Skills, and Navigation, and have been used in clinical trials.
Set a timer for 3 minutes and get neuro-ﬁt!
Clockwork Brain — The London Times chose this as one of the 500 Best Apps in the world. Fun games for spatial, visual, logic, language, math and memory— and word games are available in 9 different languages.
H O W F I T A R E YO U R N E U R O N S ? Stay at the top of your game by training every day “Brain ﬁtness” caught on years ago as a way to stave off one of the more troubling effects of aging: cognitive impairment, or dementia. Pencils in hand, adults have been working the daily crossword in an attempt to lower their risk of Alzheimer’s and sharpen their minds since the 1980s. In recent years, studies have begun to give evidence that mental function really can be improved—much the same way that physical health can be improved with exercise—by consciously training your brain’s neurons. WHY DOES THE BRAIN NEED TRAINING? Scientiﬁcally, when mental stimulation takes place, so does neurogenesis; that is, new neurons are created in the brain and they begin to connect with neighbouring neurons, ﬁring together in a sort-of combustion of growth. This, in turn, prevents cell death—you might say it keeps the brain’s power switches “turned on.” There are a lot of reasons the brain slows down as we age, and some decline is normal. The human life-cycle allows for lots of mental stimulation all through childhood and formal education, through career training, and then continuing education and hobbies, but oftentimes those activities lessen as we get older. Unfortunately, other events like illness, depression, reactions to certain medications (like chemotherapy), too much alcohol, head injuries and even poor diet and not enough exercise can exacerbate memory problems and function.
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5 4 6 5 1 6 3 1 4
BE ACTIVE—PHYSICALLY ACTIVE. The National Institute on Aging recommends that all adults boost their overall health and well-being with regular exercise. It’s unknown whether this directly prevents or delays mental decline, but it can greatly lower the risks for other chronic diseases.
2 3 4
EAT RIGHT. The food you eat delivers nutrients to your whole body, including your brain, and can have a direct effect on your mood, energy level and physical health. Don’t ignore this important component of mental health. DO SOMETHING INTERESTING. Take a class, learn to play an instrument, read and stay socially, intellectually engaged with friends and family.
PLAY BRAIN GAMES. You can ﬁnd them everywhere these days—online, in books, in the app store for your smartphone and on your kids’ video game devices. Some experts recommend 20-30 minutes a day for optimal training.
One thing to keep in mind: Doing the same types of brain teasers repeatedly—like daily crosswords—only reinforces the brain’s already established pathways. It isn’t quite as helpful as trying a variety of mental challenges and tasks. So, branch out to really pump up that frontal lobe.
Workbooks— Do a quick search for “brain games” on Amazon.com and you’ll reveal more than 8,000 workbooks with brain teasers and tests that work just like the online versions, if you prefer paper and pencil (and it’s okay if you do)! |
FOUR WAYS TO WORK THE MIND’S “MUSCLES”
1 3 5 6
2 2 5 1 3
3 1 4 2
1 5 3 2 4 3 1
6 5 6 2 2
3 2 1 5 2 1 4 5 3 6 3 2 1 5 3 5 3
LOVE AMOENA BRAS
C S R E E T I F T E G I K N
E Y Y X C M W E L M Z X S S
N X W E V C A D N F R R S G
G V Z R T T F N B E E E K I
A U O C R S H B S M I Q H E
G F D I R R D A I B E Q L C
E C G S P Y E E B T I F R U
D H V E R T H O A K A O N S
T M V O N Z H L U A S E B Y
K L M I L T U K Y S U D A A
M R Q Q I D H O O U H R Z B
B M M T U E R N G A B I B A
S N S S V D S R S X T O G Z
Engaged Stimulate Exercise Sudoku
Crossword Memory Eat Right Neurons
Alzheimers Get Fit Brain Teaser Hobbies
W E A A H M O G W R B N Z U
SOLUTIONS 6 2 4 5 3 1
5 3 6 1 4 2
4 1 3 2 6 5
1 4 2 6 5 3
2 6 5 3 1 4
3 5 1 4 2 6
2 4 6 3 1 5
1 5 2 4 6 3
6 3 1 5 2 4
5 2 4 1 3 6
4 6 3 2 5 1
3 1 5 6 4 2
3 1 5 6 4 2
2 5 4 3 1 6
4 6 2 1 5 3
1 2 6 5 3 4
5 4 3 2 6 1
6 3 1 4 2 5
6 4 5 2 1 3
2 3 6 1 5 4
5 1 3 4 6 2
3 6 2 5 4 1
4 5 1 3 2 6
1 2 4 6 3 5
Amoena Life | 25
in my Christian Dior gown, along with the other 17 ladies seated there. I clearly remember thinking the ratio is 1:9, two of us are getting bad news today. I was right, two of us were singled out for Stereotactic Vacuum Assisted Core Biopsies, at the time I thought I must have something terribly serious, because I had bypassed all the other tests and had gone straight to the “Big Gun,” and a very Big Gun, it was too! Steph talked me through the whole procedure, and explained that this was the test required for this presentation. I was suspended off the ﬂoor, on that skinny table, attached to the machine by the paddles that clutched the offending breast. I saw each core as it was removed, on a screen, and when Steph showed me where they had placed the BC Ribbon shaped, Titanium Clip, I had an overwhelming rush of emotion for all those women, who had gone before me on this journey. Suddenly, it was all very real.
Years ago, I started to say, “That island’s looking good!” whenever things bugged me, or the city was feeling just, too busy, or I simply couldn’t ﬁnd a parking spot.
I had 11 agonising days to wait for my results. The race that stops a nation, The Melbourne Cup, just happened to fall on the day I should have received the results, so I had to wait another long week, for the next clinic. The waiting was brutal.
2012 arrived, and I found myself longing for a change. The idea of the “Island” was no longer a pie in the sky idea, and my husband was on board too. As with anything we do, we threw ourselves into it, and started looking for the dream location, the one that would be our last move, and would really feed our souls in our retirement years. We had one very deﬁnite requirement, wherever we went, it must be ﬂat, because Colin is a C5/6 Quadriplegic from a Hang Gliding accident 35 years ago. After a fairly exhausting, fruitless search, in some of the most divine coastal towns in Victoria, we took an unplanned side trip, to an Isthmus in Eastern Gippsland. As we drove down the long main road to the town, I joked about the name of this place. Paynesville, Paaaaaynesville, how could I live in a place named Paynesville? We reached the end of the road, and Lake Victoria stretched out in front of us, yachts bobbed on the glassy water, and to the left, there was an island. It took my breath away! Pelicans have always been positive, spiritual signposts for me, they were there too, gliding above us, and in groups in the water. I remember saying “I could live here!” Within a few weeks, we had started negotiating to buy the perfect house. I believe the house found us. It had been on the market for 2 years and was wheelchair friendly, with killer views! 26 | Amoena Life
The day we got the news that our offer had been accepted, we put our home on the market. What on earth were we thinking? We’d broken the cardinal rule of real estate. Fortunately, the house sold quickly, and the renovations began on the new place. Four stress ﬁlled months of driving 350km each way every couple of weeks, to oversee the work, and organising all the ﬁxtures and ﬁttings from that distance, we were on our way to a new chapter in our lives. By late September, everything had settled down, and most of the work was ﬁnished. We had met wonderful people, most, had had a similar experience, arriving here by accident too. It is a magic place that has a way of drawing likeminded people to it. I received a reminder in the mail for my routine mammogram. I called and got an appointment the very next day. I remember kidding around about how different it is here in the country. I’d be waiting for weeks in the city for an appointment. I chatted with the operator while she was doing my mammogram, even discovered that she had known my husband 30 years ago. When she said she needed more shots of my right side, I felt a strange sensation in my stomach. I had always been told I had tissue that they could see right through,
that it was easy to read. I put it down to the fact we’d been chatting, and she may not have got what she needed. Sunny days turned into weeks, and an unexpected phone call gave me that same strange sensation I had felt in my stomach on the day of my mammogram. It was someone from BreastScreen and I was being “Invited Back” for further investigation. They had seen something on my mammogram. I so wanted to say, “Thank you, but no, I can’t accept your invitation!” A week later, Colin and I were driving the 2 hours to Breast Screen in Traralgon. I was taken in and a nurse explained that I would have another mammogram to check the area that was a concern, then if they weren’t happy with that, I would have an Ultrasound, then maybe a Fine Needle Aspiration, and if they still weren’t happy, I would have a Stereotactic Vacuum Assisted Core Biopsy. The fear was beginning to really build, like a Roller Coaster Ride, that clackety-clack as it approaches the top of the rise. I met Steph, the Radiographer, she showed me what we were dealing with. It looked just like the Nike tick, or the Milky Way. Microcalciﬁcations, was what they were called. I felt comfortable with Steph. I went back to the waiting room,
In my gut, I knew I wasn’t going to be in the 80% who would walk away from this unscathed. Finally, I got my results. The biopsy did indeed show DCIS, Intermediate, and High Grade. A lumpectomy with 6 weeks of radiation was indicated, and of course, until the ﬁnal pathology is in, there are no promises that there wouldn’t be another surprise lurking in there. I found a sensational Surgeon, who asked me to make a decision about what “I” wanted to do. I wanted to avoid Radiation if at all possible, so I decided to have a Mastectomy, without reconstruction. I had another month to wait for the surgery, which took me up to a few days before Christmas. I spent the night before my surgery at a Motel near the Hospital. I was sure I had made the right decision for me, but I needed to disengage from my right breast. I know this seems very weird, and wouldn’t be for everyone, but I actually spoke to my breast, I said “You’ve let me down, you have to go!” It worked for me. I felt a sense of calm which stayed with me that night. Early next morning, I breezed through the Sentinel Node Tracer, even though I feared it even more than the surgery. I have no idea why, but people seem to get perverse
pleasure out of telling you horror stories about their bad experiences. I couldn’t wait to be able to go back to them and say “I had a great experience, with a wonderful operator, and it didn’t hurt a bit!” I spoke with my Surgeon just before I went in to theatre, and reminded him I wanted a really great, straight scar. I was feeling really conﬁdent now, I felt a slight sting in my hand, and the lights went out. The ﬁrst face I saw when I woke up was my Surgeon, he was saying that he’d done what I asked, and the scar was so straight, he’d even checked it with a spirit level. In my anesthetic stupor I said, “Oh Wow, Really?” to which he replied, with a laugh “No!”. I stayed awake all night, walking the halls, chatting, and drinking tea with the Nurses, I didn’t need any pain meds, then, or in the days that followed. I felt wonderful. First thing next morning, my Surgeon was back to see me. He removed the bandages, said I looked great, and to go home. I had been there for 16 hours. I went home with a drain still attached, and prepared for Christmas in a few days. My Daughter arrived, and stayed for 10 wonderful days. The roles were reversed for the ﬁrst time, ever. We laughed, reminisced, and created great new memories. She wouldn’t let me do a thing, and I really enjoyed it. I had the wonderful District Nurses coming to see me daily, my drain came out in 6 days, and the dressings and steri-strips were removed after 10 days. I couldn’t believe how good I felt, but I had a fear of infection. My Mother had been diagnosed with Breast cancer in ’94, just 4 months after my Dad passed away. She had a Radical Mastectomy, and almost died from a massive infection. I didn’t realise at the time, just how brave she’d been. She was a great role model for me, and I am sure her grace and dignity, not to mention her wicked sense of humour, were what made non reconstruction right for me too. I read a beautiful line on a BC Forum that spoke to me, “I remember my Mother’s smile, like the curve of her scar!” When I saw the beginning of an infection starting I was back to see my Surgeon. I had a Seroma, a hematoma, a stitch that hadn’t dissolved, and Mondors Disease. Who’d have thought! I still felt great, but I ended up on my back, with my surgeon holding a big syringe, and a scalpel. Just a hiccup, it was all good, and
so was the pathology report which had just arrived that morning. I was straining over every word, all foreign terms. Pure DCIS, Intermediate and High Grade, No Evidence of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma! He said, “because of your decision to have the mastectomy, you are effectively cured. It was all removed. There is no more treatment required!” I felt the Roller Coaster teeter at the top, and then the rush, as it dropped to the bottom. I am one of the many, many women who are receiving this diagnosis of DCIS, a very controversial form of Breast Cancer to some, and Pre Cancer to others. New Digital Mammography machines are ﬁnding this much earlier than perhaps it could have been in the past. Some believe that it is being over treated. For me, I have not a single regret, and if there was a hint of it in my remaining good breast, I’d remove that too, in a heartbeat. I am now 4 months out from my surgery. I have been extremely fortunate, both in diagnosis, and recuperation. Am I the same woman that went into this? No way! I have changed, and I have felt a shift. Things look and feel different, in a good way. I don’t know if it is from feeling that fear, and then getting somewhat of a reprieve. I started to investigate everything available to me in lingerie, prosthesis, and clothing. The one name that kept coming up was Amoena. A week after my surgery I went to my local Amoena retailer to be ﬁtted for a prosthesis and some bras. The girls were wonderful, asking if I was going to have a mastectomy, when I said I had already had it a week ago they were amazed, but sent me home, and told me I couldn’t be ﬁtted for another 5 weeks, at least. I managed to make do with some softies. I went for my ﬁtting 6 weeks to the day, after my surgery, I got my prosthesis, a couple of great bras, and my absolute favourite item, the Valletta Camisole. This Camisole is a brilliant item, I wore it to my ﬁrst BC group meeting, imagine how thrilled I was when one of the women asked why I hadn’t had my surgery yet. It looked that good! My Amoena collection is constantly growing, I have many Valletta camisoles, and several prosthesis, including a swim form, and swimsuit. I am back, watching the seasons change in my favourite place. I feel really conﬁdent, and comfortable with my new “Normal”! Amoena Life | 27
So where do I start - The 17 November will always be a memorable day for me for a number of reasons - it was the day I was born, it was the day I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, and 12 months later it was the day that in conjunction with St Andrews Hospital in Adelaide, South Australia that the launch of the fund raising campaign of $42Kae for St Andrew’s Hospital commenced.
running the london marathon
28 | Amoena Life
So my journey started when with a friend, I was doing a weight loss challenge and for me when I lose weight it always starts from the top! I noticed that my breast shape had changed and thought this wasn’t quite right so went off to the GP. From there I started a very private journey of working through all the diagnostics, seeing the surgeon and getting the ﬁnal diagnosis which all happened on my birthday. Within 4 days I was scheduled for major surgery on a Friday night at St Andrews – yep the girl who was usually the strong one, the girl who was always there to do anything, the girl who worked 50 – 60 hours a week at the job she loved while at the same time training to run marathons! I realised that my life was going to change a lot but deep down I knew that if I stayed in control and continued to be positive I would be OK. I am not really going to go into all the speciﬁcs but I am not sure how I can ever explain my sincere appreciation to the staff at St Andrews from the night of my admission, during my inpatient stay and discharge process. The compassion showed from the time I presented at admissions, to the breast care nurses explaining to me what will happen, to the theatre nurse and my Surgeon arguing who would hold my hand until I went to ‘sleep’, to the nurses who were prepared to stay with me during the night when I couldn’t sleep, to the Chaplin who was sent in by the CEO to ‘stir me up’! As a health professional who is used to dealing with ‘challenging situations in the public health system’ I will ever be grateful to the amazing professional and compassionate staff at St Andrews – it is truly an amazing organisation which I strongly believe is inﬂuenced by the leadership and commitment of its senior staff and clinicians. However, that part of the journey was the easiest bit (if one can say that). The next part started with my Oncologist explaining to me the treatment regime that I would endure over the next twelve months. I can still remember quite clearly the ﬁrst conversation with me – he said just remember, the cancer is gone – our job now is to make sure all the ‘rogue cells’ are gone as well. So this was the start of a chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment program which has included drugs and more drugs and a few radiation beams.
The staff at East Terrace Centre have just been fantastic, they really make you feel like ‘one of the family’ and I have always felt very welcome and comfortable going there. It was during one on my sessions – I was reading my trusted Runner’s World magazine and about training tips for a marathon when I thought – yep I could do another marathon (I had already down two – Paris and Chicago) and I wanted to see if I could do something for St Andrews. I was supposed to do the London marathon in 2010 but because of the ‘ash cloud’, my plane was cancelled the day before I was to leave so London has always been unﬁnished business for me. So my next step was to have a discussion with Chief Executive of St Andrews Hospital and when I ﬂagged my idea he told me that they were about to announce that they were going to build a new St Andrews Medical Centre which would incorporate a new Oncology Suite. So to me, this was a perfect opportunity and a ‘sign’ that I could do another marathon and also to see if I could assist in starting some funding raising as my way to say thank you. At this stage I was 3 months into my treatment and still going to gym 3 – 4 times a week trying to keep my ﬁtness levels up. I ﬂagged with some of my gym colleagues what I wanted to do - and I am sure they would say they were conned into it and were really thinking that they would just go along with my dreams not really thinking that I would do it – but 3 of them agreed to run London with me. I have been very fortunate to have a fantastic gym instructor who has the biggest heart and will help any of her clients with their goals – so she was prepared to take the challenge. I think my ‘medical team’ and extended ‘support team’ which included my physios (one to manage my knee and one to manage my lymphoedema), podiatrist, massage therapist and naturopath all think I was a bit mad, my family and friends – well they had given up trying to ‘keep me down’ cause they know if they try I will just go harder. So with the aim of raising $42,000 for St Andrews Hospital - $1,000 for each kilometre – the fund raising activities and of course the training program commenced with gusto! The generosity of family, friends and people who value the care and compassion of the staff who work at St Andrews have been amazing. I was very appreciative of the kind donation of gift vouchers from Amoena Australia which supported a raffle as part of the fund raising activities At the time of ﬂying out to London on 19 April 2013, the target of $42,000 was reached and by the time the marathon was completed on the 21st April the total had grown to $44,000. All the funds raised will go towards supporting new patient and staff equipment for the Oncology Centre which will be located within the new St Andrews Medical Centre that will be opened in October 2013. The experience of crossing the ﬁnish line in the London Marathon in 5 hours 33 minutes will forever be very memorable for me. To me it was not only a personal achievement but a way of saying thank you to so many people who have helped me on ‘my journey’ over the past 15 months.
Final total of $51,000 was raised for the Oncology Centre. Amoena Life | 29
a creative soul EMBRACES EVERY CURVE
Since a breast cancer diagnosis means something different to every woman affected and doesn’t discriminate based on a woman’s size or shape, the theme for this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Pin celebrates how important it is to Embrace Every Curve— the curves of our bodies, as well as the curves life throws our way. This year’s pin artist, Sara Weingartner (she previously created a design in 2003), found her inspiration by focusing on a victorious female who has conquered breast cancer. Sara’s design depicts a woman wrapped in the pink ribbon, and to her way of thinking, the ribbon symbolises all the good and bad that comes with a diagnosis. When asked how she approached the project, Sara shares: “You ask what good can come from cancer? Well, for me, it was about my peak awareness of the preciousness of life. People who cared about me came out of the woodwork and I was wrapped with an amazing outpouring of support. My family was there for me every day. I was truly blessed, which made me see the goodness in the world. I learned a lot about my body and I brought awareness of breast cancer to everyone around me. I connected with a higher being in a profound way. Having cancer also made me care less about trivial things and made me focus on my passions – and of course, next to my family, art is at the top of that list.” A visit to Sara’s website, www.creativesouldesign.com, feels about as far away from breast cancer as you can get! In this fanciful realm, the ﬁrst thing you notice is her glorious use of colours and whimsical images. Sara’s creative world is ﬁlled with magical characters where you are likely to encounter a laughing pig, a singing moose, a frog driving a car, turtles dreaming, or a mother embracing her child.
30 | Amoena Life
BREAST CANCER AWARENESS PIN ARTIST
The 2013 limited edition pin, Embrace Every Curve, is available at participating Amoena retailers. Net proceeds from the pin sales are donated to Australian breast cancer support organisations. To ﬁnd an Amoena retailer near you, call 1800 773 285.
She is now ten years out from her breast cancer diagnosis, but remembers clearly what it felt like to be a new mum (her daughter Claire was just one year old when she was diagnosed) dealing with one of the biggest curves life can throw your way. She doesn’t dwell on those times, but counsels anyone currently dealing with a diagnosis to try to ﬁnd ways to embrace their new normal. From her current perspective, life couldn’t get much better. She and husband David welcomed another member to their family four years ago with the arrival of son Benjamin, and as she says, “I’m in a really different place right now. At one point I realised what I had lost (bodily, and how my future had changed), but I found what I needed was to paint my feelings.” At present, Sara is in the midst of a two-year project creating 42 original works of art for the Minneapolis Children’s Hospitals of MN. Her playful characters are sure to help the children being treated there feel much less like they are in a hospital setting. Grateful that life’s unexpected curves have led her to a much better place than where she found herself just a little over ten years ago, when she ponders this year’s pin design, Sara says, “For me this woman is wrapped with a ribbon of power, love, compassion, knowledge, insight, passion, support, victory, joy, and the understanding of the true importance in life.” |
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Receive this gorgeous bracelet when you purchase any Amoena breast form and one Amoena bra!* *Offer valid 14th October to 31st October 2013 while stocks last at participating stores. (*excluding Leisure bras)
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