Feeling good, looking great.
LIFE A utumn 2013
Painting a Brighter Picture One womanâ€™s creation of beauty over trauma
Smooth Moves Try these gentle, safe yoga poses
Is Green the new Pink?
Lifestyle changes after breast cancer
PLUS: HEALTH | BEAUTY | PORTRAITS | AND MUCH MORE
Four Corners, One Journey Survivors around the globe share their stories
D I S D L the WI
French Touch April
Is Green the New Pink? Lifestyle changes after breast cancer.
Painting a Brighter Picture One woman’s creation of beauty over trauma.
Four Corners of the Earth, One Journey of Hope Survivors around the globe share inspiring stories.
Smooth Moves Try these gentle, safe yoga poses to boost mobility.
Fashion You 4 Luxuriously Let your inner diva shine in sexy new fashions. Balance 10 Amoena Get even with your bra. 2013 11 Scarves High quality and fashionable headwear. Life 17 Amoena Introducing the new Amoena Life collection.
On the cover | Our cover model, Michele, age 51, is a two-year breast cancer survivor. Hair and make-up John Elliott; photographer Dorothea Craven.
Dark secret Rock your lingerie to the foundations in sultry tulle and lace. Soft Cup | 10-14A; 10-18B,C,D Underwire | 10-14A; 10-20B,C; 12-22D,DD,E
moena Life is going ‘global’ for the ﬁrst time ever this year. We wanted to reﬂect the fact that Amoena is a truly international company, with customers in 70 countries – so, instead of publishing different versions of the magazine, we decided to bring them all together into one single edition. Now, although you will still be able to read articles, real-life stories, letters and news from Australia, you’ll also be able to connect with women from other nations.
In this edition our front cover features Michele, 51, a recent bilateral mastectomy patient – a ﬁghter just like you who wears Amoena products. We are committed to showcasing survivor-models on the front cover going forward. New fonts and layout styles will delight you visually! Our aim is to keep the look clean, fresh, fashionable and ﬂirty! Speaking of fashion, we’re focusing on it more than ever. Check out the luxurious lingerie available in stores now, on pages 4-5. We hope that our effort to liven up the content with a new attitude lifts your spirits, as well as helping you dig deep into some
of the news and issues about your health. “Is Green the New Pink?” does just that – it questions the important topic of environment and lifestyle, and how they impact – or if they actually cause – breast cancer. This is something that none of us should ignore; we’re fortunate to live in a time where much is being discovered about food, chemistry and our bodies. Let’s take advantage of the good information and share it. I hope you ﬁnd plenty to inspire you in this issue.
Contributors Christina Relf has been features writer for Amoena Life for more than ten years. She is delighted that the magazine is going global: “I think we live in an increasingly global society. The internet connects us all, allowing news, culture, fashion and technology to be shared regardless of geographical boundaries. I believe we all beneﬁt from knowing what people in other countries are doing and thinking, as well as sharing our own experiences, and I’m sure Amoena Life readers will enjoy this new format.”
Take your fashion fantasy right down to the foundations with this gorgeous monochrome French Touch set adorned with the ﬁnest Parisian lace. Camisole | 10-14A, 10-18B,C,D Brief | 10-20 2 | Amoena Life
Dianne (Browne) Armitage was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. The eldest of six children, her early aspiration was to write the great American novel. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996 and again in 2005, she realises that humour has helped her deal with her diagnosis and just might be therapeutic to others as well. In addition to her work with Amoena, Dianne has written for Dr Susan Love’s website and is a frequent contributor to several other health-related sites.
Publisher Amoena Australia Pty Ltd | Editor Roxanne Parker | Contributors Christina Relf, Dianne Armitage, Beth Leibson, Teresa Werth Research/Features Rhoda White, Christina Relf, Lee Thrash | Design Bela Weiss, Shan Willoughby | Photography Dorothea Craven, iStockPhoto, Veer, Amoena GmbH | Contact Amoena Life, Level 1, 235 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065, 1800 773 285
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, retailers and medical facilities. No liability for unsolicited manuscripts. Amoena cannot be liable for pictorial or typographical errors. While every effort is taken to ensure the information contained in this magazine is accurate, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any use of or reliance on the accuracy of such information. Any information provided is not a substitute for professional care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. If you have, or suspect you have a health problem, you should consult your doctor. The editor reserves the right to edit or abridge letters.
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If you’ve ever fancied channelling your inner diva, this is your ideal fashion moment.
the wild side IN STORES
Pink lady IN STORES
Smouldering magenta doesn’t have to be reserved for outerwear. This dazzling lingerie is so hot, though, it seems a shame to keep it under wraps!
Smooth Lara Satin with rhinestone detail Bra | 10-16A; 10-18B,C; 12-18D Brief | 10-18
Leona Soft Cup | 10-18A,B; 12-18C,D Underwire | 10-20B; 12-20C,D
Brief | 10-18 Camisole | 10-16
Black Rebecca in 2C; 2-20B; 12-2 Soft Cup | 1 4E -2 6 1 ; D -24D 12-24D; 14
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Amoena Life | 5
>>> COVER STORY
Lifestyle changes after breast cancer:
Seldom does a day go by without a headline about something that will either cause or prevent cancer. Our report looks at some of the research behind these sensationalised headlines to see if there is any real evidence that lifestyle or environmental factors increase your risk, and whether signiﬁcant changes make sense following diagnosis.
nce they have emerged from the ordeal of breast cancer treatment, it is understandable that many women are determined to do all they can to avoid anything that could cause a recurrence, while doing ‘the right things’ to prevent the disease. The problem is knowing where to start. It could be very easy to feel overwhelmed by conﬂicting reports and scare stories. As the “green” movement has made it clear that our Western habits have grown increasingly unnatural, even more potential risks have come to light in our foods as well as our personal care products like makeup, shampoo and lotions. We’ve never questioned these products on a large scale, relative to our overall health—but perhaps we should have, all along. On the other hand, could it be that the Internet Age is helping make mountains out of molehills? Not everyone who is exposed to DNA-mutating inﬂuences will develop cancer. So how do we get the headlines into perspective? And if we want to reduce our risk of breast cancer and recurrence, how do we prioritise so that we focus on the real ‘baddies’ and understand the reality behind some of the tabloid scares?
Biology 101: DNA mutations U.S. expert Dr. Greg Orloff developed an award-winning website, CancerQuest.org, when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. As his site points out, “... simply put, cancer is the result of unregulated cell division. Cancer cells divide when they are not supposed to, don’t stop dividing when they are supposed to and don’t die when they should. In the worst cases, cancer cells leave the area in which they arose and travel to other parts of the body.” It seems that the reason cancer cells behave in this way lies in their genes. In cancer cells, changes (mutations) to key genes cause the cells to act abnormally. Because there are many different things that are capable of causing mutation, there are an equally large number of potential causes of cancer. These include: Over-exposure to certain minerals and chemicals in the environment including asbestos and toxic waste, and to the sun (in the case of skin cancer); Dietary factors such as too much fat and alcohol; Lifestyle factors such as smoking and too little exercise.
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The lifestyle lowdown Some reliable conclusions about cancer prevention are emerging. For example, there is increasing evidence that lifestyle plays a part. In December 2011, Cancer Research UK published the results of the most comprehensive study undertaken to date on the effects of lifestyle on cancer. The study concluded that 45 percent of all cancers in men could be prevented, and 40 percent of all cancers in women. This staggering ﬁgure takes into account every type of cancer—not just breast cancer—but it still provides some serious food for thought. The charity estimated that tobacco smoking, dietary factors, drinking alcohol and body weight accounted for 34 percent of UK cancers during 2010. While acknowledging that in most cases, cancers have multiple causes, Dr. Harpal Kumar, the charity’s chief executive, said: “Leading a healthy life doesn’t guarantee that a person won’t get cancer but this study shows that healthy habits can signiﬁcantly stack the odds in our favour. We know that cancer risk can be affected by family history and getting older, but these ﬁgures show that we can take positive steps to help reduce our risk of the disease.” Like any statistical information, these conclusions need to be put into perspective when it comes to breast cancer, for which it remains the case that being female and over 50 are the two highest risk factors overall; however, it’s impossible to ignore the conclusions of this research.
Think before you eat Scientists predict that the continuation of existing trends in obesity could lead to about 500,000 additional cases of cancer in the United States by 2030. There is no reason to question the medical community’s insistence that healthier diets are our ﬁrst line of defence, and the general recommendations are becoming a familiar refrain: Replace animal fats with polyunsaturated fats (found in many vegetable oils) and monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil); Get more isoﬂavones (found in peas and beans) and lignans (found in vegetables, fruits, grains, tea and coffee); >>
“Leading a healthy life doesn’t guarantee that a person won’t get cancer but studies show that healthy habits can significantly stack the odds in our favour.” Amoena Life | 7
>>> COVER STORY
NO-BRAINERS 5 changes you can make NOW more ﬁbre from wheat bran, cereals, • Eat beans, fruits and vegetables; sure you have enough calcium in • Make your diet—from low-fat milk, cheese and
BE DRINK AWARE Alcohol is toxic and the body’s detoxiﬁcation process can cause DNA damage. What’s more, research has shown that alcohol is a particular risk factor for breast cancer. According to Cancer Research UK, two large combined reviews of the published evidence and the UK Million Women Study showed an increase in breast cancer risk of about 7 to 12% with every extra unit of alcohol consumed per day. (One unit is 250ml of beer, a small glass of wine or a measure of liquor.) To be on the safe side, it is best for women not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week. Experts also advise having at least two alcohol-free days each week, believing it important that alcohol consumption is not an everyday occurrence.
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yoghurts, green vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage and okra), nuts, bread and ﬁsh; Eat foods high in carotenoids (chemicals that the body changes to vitamin A) such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and tomatoes.
We also know that a woman’s stage of life is a factor—breast cancer in post-menopausal women is more likely if they are overweight, due to the high levels of oestrogen present in their body fat. However, this is not the case in pre-menopausal women, where it’s thought that because women who are overweight ovulate less than their slimmer sisters, they are exposed to lower levels of oestrogen. It’s best, in either case, to maintain a healthy weight (go to Cancer Research UK’s website for a Body Mass Index, or BMI, calculator) and avoid gaining that dreaded ‘fat around the middle’ that seems to beset anyone who is either heading for a natural menopause or plunged into one by breast cancer treatment.
Where lifestyle and environment intersect Does your healthy diet need to be all-natural or organic to provide the best protection against cancer? It’s difficult to say. For one thing, the deﬁnitions of “organic” are still emerging, and can differ from nation to nation. Sometimes foods or food additives are blamed for directly causing cancer and described as carcinogenic. These can include: Growth hormones and antibiotics in animal farming; Pesticides and herbicides in plant farming; Bisphenol A (BPA) in some types of packaging.
• • •
Other researchers doubt that this is really true, claiming that although sometimes a food is found to contain a substance that can cause cancer, it is present in such small amounts that we could never eat enough of it to do any harm. According to the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Guidelines on Nutrition, these additives and compounds may not directly cause cancer, but they may inﬂuence cancer risk in other ways—for example, by acting as hormone-like substances in the body. Its website says, “Whether organic
foods carry a lower risk of cancer because they are less likely to be contaminated by compounds that might cause cancer is largely unknown.” However, unprocessed and organic foods are typically more nutrient-dense, and less likely to include artiﬁcial and unintended ingredients. They may be a better nutritional choice for your peace of mind and for their other beneﬁts: they are good for our planet, the welfare of farm animals and—because this seems to be the direction in which agriculture is heading—the livelihood of local farmers. Marie Spano, a nutrition communications expert and member of the American Dietetic Association, agrees. “At this time, research hasn’t clearly indicated that pesticides cause cancer or eating an organic diet prevents cancer,” she conﬁrms. “However, for many people, choosing organic foods after a cancer diagnosis or when going into remission may put them at ease and it won’t hurt. Does it help? I don’t think we know the answer to this question yet.” Spano recommends a few initial considerations, for people making small dietary changes: Start with foods with an edible skin (berries, for example) versus a skin you peel off and discard, like a banana. “There are other aspects of a healthy diet that may possibly reduce one’s risk of developing some types of cancer, including reducing intake of red meat and packaged luncheon meats, cutting off any charred portions of meat, cooking low and slow instead of fast/high heat, and cutting off burnt crust on pies and baked goods,” she adds.
What about chemicals on the skin? A synthetic preservative found in many food and cosmetic products, parabens are one of the media’s favourite chemical ‘nasties’ and have been found to have an oestrogenmimicking effect, although this is at a far lower level than the amount of oestrogen produced naturally in the body. As of our publication date, there have been no conclusive studies to support any connection between parabens and breast cancer, and in fact several groups have spoken out to try to calm consumers’ fears. Sense about Science—a UK charitable trust that equips people to make sense of scientiﬁc and medical claims in public discussion— even issued a news release in January 2012 stating there is no evidence that parabens increase the risk of breast cancer.
Links are often made between cancer and chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants but these, too, are refuted by cancer charities. Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s publication, The facts: deodorants and antiperspirants, concludes, again, that there is no reliable evidence to suggest that using these personal care products increases the risk of cancer. Nevertheless, the cosmetics industry has begun in the last several years, to re-evaluate and reformulate, making many all-natural products available if women choose them. Ultimately, this change is a good thing, says Alison Raffaele, founder and Chief Creative Officer of New Yorkbased Alison Raffaele Cosmetics. Raffaele’s company began a product overhaul in 2007, after careful study of the parabens debate. “When we reformulated,” she says, “I asked, ‘What ingredients can I live with, and what do we need to get out?’” She and her team determined that the following could easily be replaced with equally effective and less dangerous preservatives instead: Parabens. Endocrine disruptors; the parabens that are used commercially are synthetically produced, although they can be identical to those found in nature. Talc. “In pressed form it’s not an issue,” Raffaele says, “but in a loose form it’s a major inhalation risk. It doesn’t break down in the body and can potentially form cysts.” Synthetic fragrances. Mineral oil and petrolatum. A by-product of petroleum, signiﬁcant exposure to mineral oil mist (usually in industrial settings) has been shown to cause an increased risk of developing some cancers. Propylene-gycol. At 100% concentration, propylene-gycol is found as anti-freeze. In beauty products, it is not used at such a high concentration but is nonetheless a potential skin irritant.
• • • •
The best choice is your choice To date, then, scientiﬁc research does not point to increased risk from chemicals in our food or in health and beauty care products. However, many women remain convinced that reducing the chemical assault on their bodies has to be a good line of defence against cancer.
Stop smoking! You know it makes sense. Go to www.QuitNet.com for expert advice, email tips and a community forum to get you started.
break; bike to the park rather than taking the car; get together with friends for an early morning swim a few times a week.
Eat fresh! Avoid processed foods like white breads, sugary drinks, chips, cakes and biscuits. Snack on nuts and dried fruit if you get the munchies; remember your 5-a-day of vegetables and fruits; get plenty of ﬁbre and focus on whole foods and lean protein like grilled ﬁsh or chicken to curb hunger.
Cut back on the drinks! Try to limit your alcohol intake to just a few units every now and then, and don’t make alcohol a daily habit.
Get out there! Add a little more activity into your daily life. Go for a 20-minute walk on your lunch
Amoena Life talked to several women who have taken their own approach, making certain lifestyle changes that ﬁt with their own values and ease their personal fears. Sandi [who asked to remain anonymous] believes that the effect of the changes she has made, like giving up most processed food and using organic skincare, is more to do with peace of mind than a tangible beneﬁt. “We all know how dangerous these things can be and although we can’t avoid all of them, we can do a little bit,” she says. “For yourself and for the environment and future generations, it’s important to think about changing our chemical world and living more naturally.” Nutritionist Susannah Olivier’s book, The Breast Cancer Prevention and Recovery Diet, has been very popular since it was ﬁrst published in 2001. Since reading it, Mary Jennings has cut down her intake of dairy products, salt and sugar, and tries to follow Susannah’s recommendations. Mary ﬁnds that she has more energy and has been able to keep her weight down since following the plan, which can only be a good thing: “Although I have been vegetarian and eaten quite healthily for many years, I have found that by cutting out dairy, plus some wheat products, and eating smaller, regular meals, I feel extremely healthy from the inside out!” Many of the women we spoke to about lifestyle changes were convinced that eating more fresh fruit and vegetables
Get your rest! Create a sleep schedule and stick to it (even on weekends), so you get the recommended seven to nine hours a night. This can help with weight loss, mood and concentration and is a relatively easy—and totally natural—way to “up” your overall health.
and cutting back on saturated fats and processed meats helped them feel better and stay trim. And while the cancercausing properties of some of the foods women had cut out are not scientiﬁcally proven, the protective beneﬁts of healthier eating and maintaining a sensible weight certainly chime with the recent advice published by Cancer Research UK. In conclusion, if you feel better about the choices you make, and if you read widely and make sure you stay in touch with what leading research organisations have to say about the key issues, you can only beneﬁt from those choices as part of a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps green is your new pink. You can work to understand the risks and precautions associated with certain lifestyle choices, and decide which steps you want to take to help arm yourself against cancer. “It’s like avoiding a car accident,” concludes Dr. Orloff. “You can limit your risks by wearing a seat belt, not going out late at night and not driving while talking on your mobile phone. But all these things can’t guarantee that you won’t be involved in a crash. The same goes for cancer. Individuals have to decide what they want to live with.” |
Amoena Life | 9
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>>> REAL LIFE
Painting a brighter picture W
How could I turn this whole experience into something special for myself, to help me get over it and even look forward to the end result?
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hen Julia Savidge was diagnosed with breast cancer she wanted to create something beautiful out of the trauma. Diagnosed in 2008 at age 52, Julia had recently gone through a distressing divorce after 26 years’ marriage, and was devastated to be losing her breast too. She admits that the impact of these events was enormous, leaving her at a crossroads where the outlook seemed pretty bleak. When she and her husband divorced in 2004, Julia had never dated any other man. “I had been with him since I was 17—30 years in all. He was good-looking and we led a fantastic, active, outdoorsy life. We had lived in Sydney for a couple of years, and back home we had a big house, big garden—all I could have wished for.” Determined to rebuild her personal life, Julia had ﬁnally gathered up the courage to try internet dating in October 2007. “I looked at some dating sites, signing up to one in October,” she says, admitting that once she got over her initial reservations, she had fun meeting new men—in fact, one of them even turned into her ﬁrst one night stand. “I met this guy just once and surprised myself by going to dinner with him. Then I went back to his apartment and ended up staying the night. I’m really glad it happened, although I’ve never done anything like that before.” Understandably, Julia’s diagnosis slowed down her dating activities—there was simply too much to deal with all at once. “I’d had enormous fun. I didn’t really think anyone could ever measure up to my ex-husband but I was enjoying the process of meeting new people,” she says. Some of her acquaintances from the dating sites turned out to be very supportive when she was reeling from the shock of her diagnosis. “I felt comfortable telling them about my fears—more so, perhaps, than I would have been with a husband or permanent partner. They had no vested interest in an ongoing relationship so I didn’t need to be guarded. The night before surgery, I called one of the guys at 2:00 a.m. and he was really reassuring.” She also saw her ‘one night stand’ friend again —he offered her a champagne dinner just before her surgery.
‘Little sparks of loveliness’ Having these men in her life at such a distressing time made Julia feel a bit special. “Little unexpected sparks of loveliness were coming out,” she says. “Each man in his way played such an important part in helping me cope. Their attitudes were reassuring because my body, my sexuality, was the core of my concern over my breast cancer diagnosis. They were part of my healing.” Once Julia had recovered sufficiently from her surgery, she surprised herself by arranging to meet up with Ian, one of the men she had met online. “I hadn’t been that interested in his photo but he was much better looking in person—tall, slim, quiet and very nice.
It’s important to share. When we share each other’s life stories, we learn about ourselves, too. Search for “story” at www.amoena.us to read more Real Life articles like this one.
I thought I would never have another relationship again, so I was probably fairly cool at our initial meeting. We met another three or four times over the next few months, however, and I began to really like him.” Julia knew she had to tell Ian about her breast cancer experience. “I broke it to him one Saturday morning. He was surprised, but by that time we had something going together. I had stopped the online dating and decided I would just see Ian. And we are still together—nearly four years later.”
The eye of the needle Before her surgery, Julia had promised herself that she would emerge from breast cancer treatment with something beautiful and utterly personal to show for it. This is what led her to take the unusual step of creating a beautiful tattoo that would cover her reconstructed breast. Her decision felt both courageous and deﬁant—and it surprised her as much as anybody else, she conﬁdes. “I opted for a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, but I got a shock when the surgeon told me that, even with a lat ﬂap reconstruction, I would lose my nipple,” she explains. She worried that there would be a very noticeable difference between her breasts even after the reconstruction. But driving home later, Julia started to think about something that she had never considered before. “How could I turn this whole experience into something special for myself, to help me get over it and even look forward to the end result?” She considered having her nipple pierced once she’d had it reconstructed. “Then I thought, why not cover the new breast with a tattoo?” Her ﬁrst concern was safety, so she asked her surgeon about this at her next appointment and was told that she would have to be very careful with cleanliness to avoid infection, but otherwise everything was ﬁne. “I asked her for a letter saying it was safe to go ahead, so that I could reassure whoever was going to do the tattoo.” Julia had her nipple reconstructed—“It was the same diameter as my other nipple but completely ﬂat, like a button”— and then she set about ﬁnding a tattoo artist. “I just couldn’t imagine how to start, what the design would be like, who I would get to do it—most tattoo artists are male and I wanted a female. My friends were horriﬁed—why would I put myself through all that? What about the risk of infection? But I was determined.” It took about a year to ﬁnd the right person. “Eventually I found Hai. I wasn’t sure anyone would want to tattoo a reconstructed breast, but when I emailed Hai she said she was OK with it—her grandmother had had breast cancer, so she knew what I had been through. She was lovely when we spoke. I explained that it would have to be very clean to avoid infection.” Next came the design of Julia’s tattoo: “I wanted something delicate, twirly, maybe ﬂowery but I didn’t have any ﬁxed ideas. Hai said she would take a picture of my breast and create some images and email them to me. She then sent me some drawings superimposed on the photo of my breast which were amazing. I was thrilled with the design, which had tendrils— one that comes out over the top of my bra and one below. I had decided that the centre would be a large ﬂower because of the nipple area.” The tattoo itself was created over the course of three visits. “Luckily, on the reconstructed breast you don’t feel anything!”
Julia spread the visits out over about a year. “She drew it on ﬁrst, so I could see what it would look like when ﬁnished. I didn’t want anything brash or obvious—I wanted to be able to wear T-shirts that showed a couple of leaves but mostly you don’t see it at all when I’m dressed.” Her ﬁnal visit was in September 2010.
Picture this Some men may have balked at Julia’s next move—to have her tattoo professionally photographed—but Ian, who had helped her design the tattoo and thought the results were amazing, was with her all the way. “I was so pleased with the tattoo that I wanted to see what it actually looked like,” she explains. “I had only seen it in the mirror or just looking down on it. I wanted a photograph that I could frame and put in my bedroom. I wanted a very professional job and, oddly, a male photographer. A friend recommended someone who turned out to be a really nice guy. I met him and told him I didn’t want anything sexy or raunchy. He assured me that he’d had other commissions from women who wanted photos of their tattoos. He was fantastic—he put me at ease.” Despite some nerves, by the end Julia thought the session was pretty fun. “I did my own hair and make-up and we used my own clothes, because I wanted it to reﬂect who I really am. When the CD ﬁnally arrived I couldn’t look at it for about two weeks! I felt slightly embarrassed that I had had photos taken of me, naked.” When she eventually did look at the pictures, she was delighted. They really do show how Julia has embraced the challenges that breast cancer threw at her and turned them into something positive and empowering: “This has been part of my personal journey—I thought out each step carefully and each one had to make me feel good.”
Look how far I’ve come Julia knows she has come a long way in the past few years. “The whole tattooing thing—I didn’t know how Ian would view it, but he loves it. It looks just stunning and it makes me feel so good about myself. I hadn’t expected to feel this way, but I am so proud of it. I am not suggesting every woman who has breast cancer should have her boob tattooed. But I think every woman should just have something lined up for herself that perhaps she wouldn’t have done if she hadn’t had this trauma in her life.” Many women who ﬁnd themselves newly single after many years are daunted by the prospect of online dating, regardless of whether they’ve had breast surgery or not. Julia was no exception—and she thought that following her diagnosis she would never have another relationship. “The outcome was absolutely the opposite of what I had expected. Not only did I meet my partner Ian but I also found it helped me at a very difficult time. If I hadn’t already been internet dating before my surgery, I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to sign up after my diagnosis. I hope my experiences will give other single women the courage to give it a try.” |
Amoena Life | 13
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There is only one cancer centre in the country of Zambia, so when Rachael found a lump in her left breast at age 37, she travelled six hours to get there from her hometown. But this wasn’t the most difficult aspect of her cancer experience. She was pregnant at the time of her diagnosis and had to wait until after delivery of her healthy baby boy to begin the costly treatments; during the treatments, she was away from her family for almost a year. Moreover, the state of medical delivery in one of Africa’s poorer developing nations meant that she didn’t have access to certain medications in use in Western medicine, so chemo took its toll: “I was put on medication to stop lactating after my son was born and then I had surgery; underwent chemotherapy for 5 months and radiation treatment for 6 weeks. My hair fell out and I was vomiting all the time,” she remembers. Healthcare advocates like the Cancer Support Network of Zambia say that proper care during and after cancer wouldn’t even be possible without generous contributions from charitable organisations. They and others have helped distribute breast forms and pocketed bras to women like Rachael. As improvements continue being made in Zambia, Rachael and her husband now serve as community advocates and educators, giving other women courage and hope.
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At the time of Mrs. Wang’s mastectomy, the incidence of breast cancer in women her age (she was 25) in China was extremely low. There was undoubtedly some distress and stigma associated with the disease, which shaped her experience. She had a Halsted radical mastectomy in 1991, years after the procedure had been mostly phased out in Western practice. Concern and fear before the surgery, and the physical pain afterwards, were her most difficult experiences. Of course, her surgery, which removed lymph nodes and chest muscles, required major rehab for recovery, which was given by her medical personnel and patient support groups. She mentions, “The advanced rehabilitation knowledge and products surely helped me come back to life and be a woman again.” Mrs. Wang is a relatively new user of Amoena breast forms and bras, as the company has only recently begun expansion into Asia. She wears an Individual Light with Comfort+ and likes it because it is more comfortable than standard weight forms. She told Amoena Life that her husband and son have given her loving support all the way through her journey. Today, she’s a very optimistic survivor who runs 5 km a day and travels frequently with her husband.
Rachael, age 40, Zambia Unilateral Mastectomy (2009) nd her grandso ne a
Mrs. Wang, age 46, Shanghai, China Unilateral Mastectomy (1991)
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Suzanne realises she is one of the lucky women, as far as medical coverage is concerned—her surgeries and treatments were covered under her employment-based health insurance with a well-known U.S. insurance company. But her journey was full of healthcare delivery problems. “I vaguely remember receiving a [postmammogram] phone call saying, ‘Something suspicious, but not cancer,’” she says. In fact, Suzanne got that message twice more, but after several additional tests, a surgeon she had never seen before asked her abruptly, “What are we going to do about your breast cancer?” To say she was shocked is an understatement. In retrospect, Suzanne wishes that she’d been given better information and the compassion she knows she deserved. This fast-paced, impersonal care is one of the common complaints about U.S. healthcare; as a prime example, when she asked her insurance company about support groups in her area, they suggested that she start her own! She also says that her recovery time in the hospital was too short—she felt “pushed out the door.” Like many women, her journey included heartbreak, depression and ultimately, newfound strength. Suzanne left her unsupportive husband, lost more than 100 pounds and started wearing Amoena Contact breast forms, which she has loved. Despite 12 years of saying “no more” to hospitals and surgeries, Suzanne is currently making her second attempt at reconstruction.
c re a t i n g s y m m
Suzanne, age 62, United States Bilateral Mastectomy (2000/2001)
+ b re a s t f o r m
While many of the emotional aspects of breast cancer are shared globally, we can’t begin to know the daily nuances of every breast cancer patient’s journey. Healthcare delivery is unique the world over—if it exists at all in a particular location—and of course, family and other circumstances play a role, as well. We think it’s valuable to peer into other women’s lives for a moment—to understand some of their daily healthcare trials and triumphs. If you’ve ever wondered what having breast cancer can be like in other countries, here are the personal stories from survivors around the globe.
omen in some countries have yearly mammograms; in others, a lump might be found without having visited a doctor in a decade. Breast surgeries are routinely performed in western hospitals but might be more difficult to arrange across the globe. No matter where we experience y, dress up in pin Gar k. breast cancer, though, this truth remains: It’s a journey that changes our lives, and we will , d an forever share survivorship in common with women around the world. b s
The opening ceremonies of 2012’s Summer Olympics showed the world that the UK’s National Health System (NHS) is a point of great pride—and Pauline credits it for her excellent medical care throughout her cancer journey. “The dedication and access to treatments has been fantastic,” she says. Able to receive medications through drug trials and the National Cancer Drugs fund, she recognises that this system is helping her live life to the fullest while she continues to battle secondary cancer in her liver. She was disappointed when costs and NICE (National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence) guidelines required her to be taken off Herceptin after three and a half years, while other women continue on it longer in the hopes of slowing down the disease. Otherwise, she’s had strong medical support. After her ﬁrst treatment round, Pauline experienced the fear of “What if it comes back?” which she knows is universal. “I think that never leaves your thoughts. I know ladies after 20 years who still have that fear.” But she also knows there is life after cancer. Amoena Life helped her feel less alone, she says and then, she helped the magazine in return! She and some friends wrote in, suggesting that “Real Women” should serve as models alongside the professional models. We wanted more ladies to think, ‘Well, we could look great in that, too!’” Pauline modelled swimwear for us in 2005, and had a great time. She has now had reconstruction, but continues to wear Amoena apparel, and loves them!
Four corners of the earth, one journey of hope
25 when she was
Pauline, age 49, Great Britain Lumpectomy followed by Mastectomy (2001)
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Life IN STOR
Amoena is a registered trademark of Amoena Medizin-Orthopädie-Technik GmbH. © 2013 All rights reserved Amoena Medizin-Orthopädie-Technik GmbH, 83064 Raubling, Germany - ID0471-01/13
& e, 60 Renneette, 47 A n vivor sur els mod
Cosy Comfort Feel the comfort in the new Autumn colours of Amoena’s Valletta pocketed camisole collection. In stores now! Stone and Coral | Sizes 10-22 To find an Amoena retailer near you, visit T tthe store locator at www.amoena.com.au or call 1800 773 285.
Call us on 1800 773 285 for more information or visit www.amoena.com.au
Introducing Amoena Life Tops with a built-in pocketed shelf bra with coordinating bottoms for a fabulously fashionable look. Active wear tops feature integrated Comfort+ temperature-equalising fabric in just the right places to absorb body heat and reduce perspiration.
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>>> MIND & BODY 1
Try these gentle, safe yoga poses to boost mobility.
From Tadasana, breathe out and step your feet apart.
2 Raise your arms parallel to the ﬂoor and reach
them out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.
3 Turn your right foot in slightly and your left foot
out to the left 90 degrees. Align the left heel with the right heel. 4 Exhale and bend your left knee over the left
Maintaining mobility after breast cancer treatment is important, and a little yoga is a great way to get started. We asked Pippa Plaisted, who teaches yoga and Pilates at The Haven breast cancer support centre in London, to recommend her favourite yoga poses that are gentle and safe for everyone—no matter what their level of ﬁtness*.
ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the ﬂoor. Don’t lean your torso over your left thigh. 5 Turn your head to the left and look out over
Tadasanapose Before you start any of the following poses, stand in Tadasana (Mountain pose), looking straight ahead, legs straight and feet together, arms by your sides, shoulders relaxed.
6 Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. 7 Inhale and then return to a standing position.
Repeat on the other side.
Warriorpose Beneﬁts Strengthens and stretches your legs and ankles, stretches your groin, chest, lungs and shoulders and stimulates your abdominal organs.
From Tadasana, breathe out and bring your arms out to the side and up.
2 Press the palms together, keeping your arms
straight, and gaze up towards your thumbs.
If you have neck problems, do not turn your head to look over your hand—instead, look straight ahead. 1
2 Raise your arms parallel to the ﬂoor and reach them out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down. 3
3 Slide your shoulder blades down your back. 4 Hold for 30 seconds to one minute. 5 Inhale and take your arms out to the sides
and slowly back down.
Beneﬁts Great for shoulder mobility and for improving lymph ﬂow.
18 | Amoena Life
Our survivor models, Michele, 51 and Annette, 47, are wearing styles from Amoena’s new activewear collection.
Exhale and extend your torso to the right, directly over the plane of the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist. keeping the two sides equally long. Let your left hip come slightly forward and lengthen your tailbone towards the back heel.
Try this pose seated on a chair with your feet ﬂat on the ﬂoor and knees parallel, or standing with your back against a wall.
Amoena’s fabulous new line of activewear is perfect for your workouts. Choose from a racer-back or tank-style top (or both!), all with a built-in shelf bra with pockets for your breast form or symmetry shaper. We’ve even integrated Comfort+ temperature-equalising fabric in just the right places to help absorb body heat and reduce perspiration, helping you stay fresh and comfy at all times – always a bonus when working up a sweat! Team with sassy capris and your fashionably fabulous look will not go unnoticed!
Turn your left foot in slightly and your right foot out 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel.
5 Rotate your torso to the left,
rt Looking the pa
Stand in Tadasana. Breathe out and step your feet apart.
Rest your right hand on your shin or ankle (but not on your knee joint).
7 Stretch your left arm towards
the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing at your left thumb. 8 Hold this pose for 30 seconds
to one minute. 9 Inhale and return to a standing
position. Repeat on the other side.
Beneﬁts Stretches and strengthens your thighs, knees and ankles, stretches your hips, groin, hamstrings and calves and your shoulders, chest and spine, as well as stimulating your abdominal organs.
Beginner’s tip Brace your back heel and the back of your torso against a wall if you feel unsteady in this pose.
*Consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program.
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When an apple a day can’t keep worry away. Understanding the persistence of follow-up fears by Beth Leibson
20 | Amoena Life
usan, a New York-based writer, ﬁnished with breast cancer treatment six years ago. Since then, life has returned to normal. That is, until she has to go see her doctor for a check-up, which she does about every three months. “I have my next appointment on the 25th, so I won’t start worrying about it full-scale until the ﬁrst,” she explains. “But I know that it’s not going to be a productive month.” She worries about what her doctor will ﬁnd. Susan isn’t alone in her concerns, explains Elissa Bantug, Project Coordinator of the Breast Cancer Survivorship Program at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center and herself a two-time breast cancer survivor. “Studies show that upwards of 80% of survivors worry about recurrence,” she adds. “For some women, these worries can be so strong that they impact their treatment decisions, symptom reporting and screening behaviours and overall quality of life,” says Nancy K. Janz, Ph.D., professor of health behaviour and health education at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and researcher at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Recurrence isn’t the only concern. Some survivors worry about getting another type of cancer, feel like they’re losing control just when they were getting back into the driver’s seat of their lives, or simply remember the nausea of chemotherapy and feel their stomachs clench just by walking over the threshold of the hospital door. These feelings can take a toll. For some survivors, simply seeing a doctor’s appointment loom in their diary might lead to difficulty sleeping, poor appetite, mood swings or increased aches and pains, according to Cancer Council Victoria, a Melbourne, Australia-based nonproﬁt involved in cancer research, support and advocacy. And, to some extent thanks to improved treatment, more and more people face these challenges. In the 1970s, less than 50% of people with cancer lived ﬁve years or more after diagnosis. These days, close to 70% of people with cancer live at least ﬁve years—and, partly as a result, the number of survivors has grown to about 12 million, according to
CancerCare, a New York-based cancer support organisation. Not all cancer survivors have the same check-up schedule. The frequency of follow-up appointments varies by the type of cancer, the treatment received and the survivor’s overall health. And different doctors take the reins of post-treatment follow-up. Some women see their breast surgeons while others check in with their oncologists, gynecologists or even their internists. Some survivors are even followed by several physicians, such as an oncologist and a surgeon. Whoever is overseeing the process, though, people usually go back every three to four months during the ﬁrst few years and then once or twice a year after that, according to the National Cancer Institute. Some of these appointments just involve physical examinations and check-ins; others may require bloodwork, imaging (such as mammograms or sonograms), or other tests. When the Calendar Makes You Nervous
Ann Fry, who ﬁnished breast cancer treatment about two and a half years ago, thought she would get calmer as time went on. She has found, unfortunately, that she has not. “I wasn’t so nervous at the beginning,” she says, explaining that she ﬁgured she was done with treatment and, therefore, done with cancer. But when she went for her two-year check-up, the doctor found a few suspicious spots; two turned out to be nothing, but the third was precancerous, and Fry ended up with a lumpectomy. She is less conﬁdent that her cancer story is over. “Now, when I look at the calendar and see that I have an appointment with the doctor in a few days, I feel a twinge,” says Fry, who holds an MSW and is founder of iamathriver.com, a website geared to survivors. “On the subway on the way to the appointment, I’m nervous that the doctor is going to see something new.” “Coming back from a life-threatening illness can be very hard, very traumatic,” agrees Bantug, speaking from personal experience. As a runner, she used to worry post-treatment whenever her legs felt sore, even though she knew it was more likely to be shin splints than tumours. Over time, though, she has become more secure in her health – and determined to help other patients ﬁnd their ‘new normal.’
How much women worry about recurrence is often not aligned with their actual risk for cancer recurrence. When Bantug was going through diagnosis and treatment, she felt as though she had to ﬁght every step of the way; she became an advocate for women living with breast cancer as a result of her experiences. She wants to try to make it easier for others. “You can point out that if someone spends a lot of time worrying about cancer that either they won’t have cancer—in which case they’ve spent a lot of time worrying for no reason—or they will have cancer—and they still wasted all that time,” Bantug reasons. “But you can’t just tell someone to stop worrying.” It simply won’t work. “It’s a matter of ﬁnding the right way to do it, ﬁnding something that works in your life, a way that is culturally sensitive and meaningful.” So—to reference writer and professional optimist Dale Carnegie— how do you stop worrying and start living? First of all, experts agree, it is important to get good information. Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center found that women who report understanding the information about their disease and treatment better, women who receive more help with their symptoms, and those who have more coordinated care are less likely to worry about recurrence than women who lack these resources. Being Proactive Helps
Beyond gaining information, Bantug emphasises healthy living. “Get active and stay active,” she exhorts cancer survivors. “Eat healthy and don’t smoke.” Knowing that you’re doing everything you can to keep cancer at bay can help alleviate some of the fear, she explains. Speaking as a healthcare provider as well as a survivor, Bantug explains that Amoena Life | 21
“I am a firm believer that especially after cancer, you want to live every day as fully as you can.” | Ann Fry | 22 | Amoena Life
>>> FEELIN’ KINDA FUNNY
“it also helps to give people signs to look for—signs oof recurrence or of a new cancer,” she says. Many Read other articles people ﬁnd that having something practical and about life after breast proactive to do, such as regular breast exams, can cancer in the stave off feelings of fear and anxiety. Daily Living section of And the research bears this out. “The challenge Amoena Life online: is to ensure women are aware of the signs of www.amoenalife.com. recurrence while not increasing anxious preoccupation with w excessive worry. How much women worry about recurrence is often not aligned with their actual risk for recu cancer recurrence,” says Janz. It can also be useful, Bantug points out, to have someone to talk with. “That can be a support group, a social worker or therapist—or even just a friend who understands,” she explains. “Try to ﬁnd someone to connect with.” Fry, agrees that support groups can be very helpful—they have been to her—but points out that it is important to ﬁnd a good ﬁt. If, for instance, everyone in the group is 30 years older than you, it might be hard to take comfort from the meetings. Both Bantug and Fry agree that it is important to ﬁnd someone who is a good role model. “Look at survivors who are doing well, who are thriving after cancer,” suggests Bantug. Fry has developed a website devoted to the notion of thriving after cancer and other life-threatening illnesses and circumstances. Fry also has some very practical recommendations from her own life. “If I start to feel nervous, I go out, sit at a café, and have a glass of wine.” She tries to bring a friend—but even if no one is available, Fry will still go out. “I take myself to the movies, listen to music, or write my blog. I try to distract myself in a positive way.” Positive distraction was Fry’s approach even when she was in treatment. “The night before my lumpectomy, I went to a Christmas party. I didn’t eat or have alcohol, but I sipped a diet soda and danced.” She was a little nervous as she walked to the subway to go home, she says, but at least she hadn’t spent the whole evening worrying. “I want to be living every day,” she says. She’s found this method works well for her. At the same time, though, Fry thinks it is important not to deny your feelings. “If I have to cry, I cry,” she says. “I don’t pretend that the feeling isn’t there—I just try not to dwell on it.” Bantug maintains, as well, that the passing of time can help survivors worry less about routine check-ups. “Time heals a lot,” she says. “I am a ﬁrm believer that especially after cancer, you want to live every day as fully as you can,” says Fry. “I believe that if we let this disease beat us up, we’re hanging on by our ﬁngernails,” she explains. “My major message is to live every day with purpose—love your children, love your mate, enjoy the work you do, take care of yourself and take pleasure in your life.” | Beth Leibson lives and writes in New York City. She is author of I’m Too Young to Have Breast Cancer (LifeLine Press, 2004).
The other side of the fence Dianne Armitage comes to grips with what it means to be green
kay, I’ll be the ﬁrst to admit it. I’m lazy. That’s right. L-A-Z-Y, with a capital L. My lethargy doesn’t affect my commitment to exercise, work or even my undying desire to make people laugh. Nope, in those areas I’m the proverbial Energizer Bunny™. But when it comes to trying to unravel the never-ending onslaught of what’s good, what’s bad, what’s in and what’s out on the “green” scene, I’m pooped before I even get started! Of course, I don’t litter. And I make every attempt to use glass instead of plastic. Organic instead of pesticide-laden. Free-range, grass-fed and humanely treated rather than corporate farmed. Heirloomed instead of perfumed … wait … I’m not sure that’s actually a choice…. which brings me to my point. How the heck can anyone keep up with all of this stuff ? Not only keep up with it, but keep it all straight? At about the time I’m worrying myself sick because there is a massive island of plastic the size of Texas ﬂoating in the Paciﬁc Ocean (and if you’ve ever driven across Texas, you know this is NOT good), I hear that it is also toxic. I found this even more disconcerting because for one brief moment I’d hoped that perhaps the Polar Bears, who are losing their habitat due to global warming, could just hop a ride on the plastic island. Apparently, things are never that easy. Then I heard that cosmetics can be laced with lead and other things known to be hazardous to our health. At ﬁrst I thought this wasn’t going to be such a tough problem to overcome. I found a website that showed me how to make an avocado face mask. Another that pointed out how sliced cucumbers could be used to get rid of puffiness under the eyes. And still another that assured me using yoghurt on
my hair was a great way to get rid of tangles. Unfortunately, avocado and yoghurt make a great dip for cucumbers. I know, I know, but I was hungry. To make matters worse, I happen to live in California. Usually that’s a good thing, but when it comes to being trendy, in-the-know, up-to-the-minute—and all sorts of other hyphenated words—Californians like to think they are numero uno (we’re politically correct, too)! I can’t just walk into a store and buy something that is bad for me without getting: (a) startled looks, (b) rolling eyes, (c) shaking heads or (d) all of the above. Most of the time the answer is (d) but I can never be quite sure if the person in question is actually reprimanding me or has already made this same poor choice and can no longer control their bodily functions. Is it too much to ask for someone to come up with a list— that doesn’t change with every news cycle—of all the things we should and shouldn’t be doing? And then, would it be silly for me to wish someone would open a store ﬁlled with everything good so I can simply go there and know, regardless of the choice I make, it will be right? Would it be possible that I not have to take a second job to pay for these things? Could the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy run the checkout lines? (I just added that for those of you who feel I’m being childishly naïve—hey, are you from California?) In conclusion, let me just say that yes, in my case, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and do you want to know why? It’s because I’m so busy trying to ﬁgure out all the ways to be more “green” that I don’t have time to water my lawn. |
Dianne (Browne) Armitage was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. The eldest of six children, her early aspiration was to write the great American novel. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996 and again in 2005, she realises that humour has helped her deal with her diagnosis and just might be therapeutic to others as well. In addition to her work with Amoena, Dianne has written for Dr Susan Love’s website and is a frequent contributor to several other health-related sites.
Amoena Life | 23
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