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A magazine for women affected by cancer

Skin Cancer Teresa lives in faith and not fear with metastatic melanoma

Dewy, Sun-Kissed Look The best of self tanners

What is Dysphagia and How to Beat it

Living in a Death Denying Culture

Healthy processing for a terminal diagnosis


Part two of a three-part series

The Value of UPF Clothing

Editor’s Letter

Live. Learn. Shine. Spring rain brings spring flowers, and I’m a total sucker for flowers. I appreciate their delicate and decorative petals, their sweet fragrance, and their ability to unfold and expose new textures and colors deep within a bloom. I’m amazed by the silkiness of the blossoms, often rich with moisture and protective of the seeds that birth new buds and the next dazzling display. Each one feels like a new miracle to me, so I try hard not to let the busyness of life distract me from the bounty of beauty that exists in every bouquet. It’s in the acknowledgment of these simple pleasures that I find both peace and wonder in the midst of the chaos of any given day. My husband knows me well, and he brings me fresh flowers every Saturday. He has done this for as long as we’ve been married (25 years!!). He understands that I delight in seeing a colorfully filled vase, and I can seemingly feel tipsy from an extra sugary and vibrant aroma. It makes him laugh, but he once confessed that’s not all it does. He also brings flowers because it serves as a reminder to him that he’s committed to being a strong and loving partner in our marriage. On a bad day, the mere sight of the florals can convict his heart if he’s not giving his best to our sacred union. It turns out, he buys the flowers just as much for himself as he does me, however his reasoning makes me that much giddier about the weekly purchase. As you dive into this issue of Brighter, I also want to invite you into a Spring mindset; one that breathes fresh and invigorating energy into your current circumstances. Absolutely take time to acknowledge your hardships, but also make a commitment to open your eyes to the glorious details of life’s simple pleasures. Where do you see artistry in creation? What recent act of service brought you joy? Take a moment to admire the detailed patterns of your favorite lounge set, or consider lining up a panel of new hand soaps and do a comparison test to see which one takes you on the best aromatic journey. Use all of your senses - sight, taste, smell and touch - soak in your surroundings and explore the possibility of discovering something fascinating, uplifting or motivating to renew your sense of wonder and hope. Spring is a time of renewal, and our mission at Brighter is to encourage, equip, educate, and empower women affected by cancer. We’re here to offer fresh perspective, tender empathy and warm, relatable community. We understand that emotions may cycle, but our hope is to bring you restorative refreshment. Inhale and fill your lungs with life-giving oxygen, open your heart to the day in front of you and receive the wonder of the details blooming all around you. Enjoy this issue and be encouraged. We see you. We’re committed to you. We’re with you.





A podcast for women with cancer.

Brighter Magazine’s Social Survivor events are monthly gatherings specifically tailored for women affected by cancer, providing a safe and supportive space for connection and empowerment. Attendees, either in person or virtual, also have the opportunity to hear from numerous speakers that provide beneficial information to a survivor. These events offer a platform for fostering meaningful connections, giving and receiving mutual support, and gaining useful tools to navigate life post-diagnosis. Natura Bisse, an international skincare company, hosted a recent event. They educated survivors on the importance of skincare during and after treatment. Offering practical tips for safe and effective skincare routines, women left the event feeling empowered and confident in their skin once again. Over the next few months, look for emails and social media announcements to register for future events.

Listen to our podcast on Spotify! Brighter Magazine’s podcast is a beacon of support and inspiration for women affected by cancer. Through compelling survivor stories, insightful interviews with medical experts and caregivers, and practical advice on managing life with cancer, the podcast is an enlightening and encouraging resource that adds another dimension to our magazine offering. Listeners can expect to hear heartfelt accounts of hope and resilience, gain valuable insights to manage the impact of cancer and discover helpful tips and products to ease the burdens. Each episode offers a platform for sharing experiences, fostering connections, and empowering women to face their cancer journey with strength and optimism.



Founder, Publisher Helen Bowles Helen@brightermagazine.org

Are you or is someone you know a writer, photographer, blogger, web designer or podcaster? Do you work with cancer survivors and have knowledge and wisdom to share with our readers? We would love to hear from you. Brighter magazine is always looking for people to help us with our mission. If you are interested in lending your talents and giftedness, please reach out to us today at contact@brightermagazine.org.

Board of Directors Emily Perry Erin Schreyer Helen Bowles Rebecca Walden Shari Johns Suzen Stewart

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Information in Brighter magazine is to provide you with encouragement, awareness and education. The articles reflect the opinions of the authors and are not to take the place of professional medical advice. There may be a variety of perspectives on the subjects covered in Brighter. Tips, treatment and advice that is found helpful for some may vary based on the person. All of us at Brighter suggest that you talk to your medical team before making any changes to your lifestyle or daily living.

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Writers Anjani Vasson Brittney Dorr Cara Price Debbie Norris Dithyae Devesh Elizabeth Otterbein Erin Schreyer Jamie Hess Jeanna Doyle Jennifer Gill, MD, PhD Katy Hutson Kristen Foster Melissa Papock Meredith Mitstifer Natasha Parker Shelly Vaughn Wendy S. Harpham, MD, FACP

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Graphic Design Ashton Mitchell Photography Adobe Photos Cabana Life Photos Erin Schreyer

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Cover Photography Erin Schreyer

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Table of Contents 06 Button Up Your Style 08 The Value of UPF Clothing 10 Letting Go 11 Detoxing Your Home 12 Power Up Springs Eternal... 14 Hope or Does It? to Use Writing 16 How in Your Fight You Need to Know 18 What About Melanoma

22 Protect Your Swallow 24 Her New Hobby 26 Share Worthy Recipes 28 Brighter Feature

Melanoma Survivor, Teresa Dearborn

34 Hair Hopes and Happenings 38 Here We Glow! 39 Spring into an Active Lifestyle 42 Pay it Forward in a Death46 Living Denying Culture

Button Up Your Style Written By: Brittney Dorr Fashion Consultant

cropped sweater vest with an oversized white shirt can give you the same look if you are not a belt person.

Do you ever feel you need to “button up” your style? Maybe you wake up and have an important meeting coming up, but you’re just not feeling it. Or perhaps you’re sick of wearing what seems like the same things over and over again? Let’s get you “buttoned up”! This article presents several effortless ways for you to wear a classic white button-up, which is a must-have necessity in every woman’s wardrobe. The oversized white button-up can be utilized in so many ways. You can wear it with a slimmer pant, like leggings or faux leather pants. Use a front tuck to emphasize the waist and pair with bold big earrings. This can also be a great evening look with heels and bright accessories. If you’re not into the front tuck, you can always wear the shirt untucked with a longer blazer or belt. Utilizing the



For a classic and polished look, you can wear jeans with a crisp white button-up shirt tucked in. Unbutton the top few buttons to your comfort level and add a belt along with layered necklaces to complete the outfit. Additionally, you can pair a sweater or jacket over the white button-up shirt with a relaxed chino-type pant for an easy and hassle-free look. This shirt and sweater combination can also be worn with leggings and white sneakers to achieve a chic look, making you feel good even when you’re under the weather after treatment. To achieve a fresh and stylish springtime look, tie a white shirt in a simple knot and pair it with boyfriend jeans and a ball cap. I like to wear an open white button-up shirt over leggings and a sports bra when running errands. Additionally, don’t forget that the white button-up can also serve as a great swim cover-up. If you’re on vacation or looking to enhance your style without any fuss, a white button-up shirt is always a reliable choice. It’s a versatile staple that works well all year round. Remember, style is a vibe and everyone has one!

Passing Time Answers

Continued from pages 48-49

Word Unscramble Answers:

Glow, Hope, Bags, Hair, Plants, Eraser, Sunshine, Basket, Spring, Swallow, Button, Resource, Salmon, Melanoma, Girl Scout, Protection

Wordcross Answers: Across: 3) Ironman 4) Dermontologist 6) Pickleball 8) Window Down: 1) Chemotherapy 2) Writing 5) Salmon 7) Wig Trivia Answers:

A, C, C, B, D, B, A, B

The Value of UPF Clothing Written By: Melissa Papock Founder of Cabana Life & Melanoma Survivor

Amalfi Coast Cabana Shift Dress $128

Photography provided by: Cabana Life



As a skin cancer survivor, I have learned the hard way about the dangers of the sun. As the founder of Cabana Life sun-protective clothing, my problem became my purpose, designing fashionable and functional sun-safe styles you actually WANT to wear. Sun-protective clothing is an innovative and increasingly popular approach to safeguard skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Central to its effectiveness is a metric known as the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF), which quantifies how effectively a fabric shields skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Understanding UPF and its significance is crucial in appreciating why sun-protective clothing is a smart choice for health-conscious individuals. UPF is akin to the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) used for sunscreens. However, while SPF only measures protection against UVB rays, UPF rates a fabric’s defense against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and are primarily responsible for premature aging, while UVB rays cause sunburn; both contribute to skin cancer risk. A garment with a UPF of 50, for instance, allows just 1/50th of the sun’s UV radiation to reach the skin. This means it provides significant protection by blocking about 98% of UV rays. The benefits of sun-protective clothing are numerous. Firstly, it provides consistent protection. Unlike sunscreen, which can wear off due to sweat, water, or improper application, UPF clothing offers a steady level of defense as long as it covers the skin. This consistent protection is particularly beneficial for individuals who spend extended periods outdoors, whether for work, sports, or leisure activities. Moreover, sun protective clothing is a convenient alternative to regular sunscreen application. For those who are sensitive to skincare products or who find reapplying sunscreen throughout the day inconvenient, UPF clothing serves as an efficient and comfortable solution. It eliminates the guesswork involved in sunscreen application, such as whether enough product has been applied or if it’s been evenly distributed. The technology behind sunprotective clothing is based on various factors: the density and structure of the weave, the type of fiber used, the color, and any additional

UV absorbers integrated into the fabric. Tighter weaves and darker colors generally offer better protection. The evolution of this technology means that UPF clothing is not just functional but also stylish and comfortable, available in a range of designs for different activities and preferences. Sun-protective clothing is a crucial element in a comprehensive skin care strategy. Skin cancer is one of the most common types of Algarve Tunic Dress $126 cancer globally, and its incidence is rising. By blocking harmful UV rays, UPF clothing significantly reduces the risk of skin cancer. It also protects against sunburn, which is not just painful but also increases the risk of skin cancer in the long term. Additionally, for individuals with skin conditions, on certain medications, or those who have undergone procedures that make their skin more sensitive to the sun, UPF clothing offers an extra layer of necessary protection. It’s also beneficial for children, whose delicate skin is particularly susceptible to UV damage. The value of sun-protective clothing, underscored by the UPF rating, lies in its ability to offer efficient, convenient and comprehensive protection against the harmful effects of the sun. By incorporating UPF clothing into your wardrobe, you can significantly reduce your risk of skin damage, skin aging and skin cancer, making it a wise investment in long-term health and wellbeing. All Cabana Life clothing provides 50+ UV Protection, the highest rating available, and is a skin-vestment for a healthier life. Our UPF clothing is lightweight, comfortable, wrinkle-resistant and complimentinducing. Most importantly, sunsafe apparel is an essential tool in the fight against UV radiation, empowering people to enjoy the sun safely. LeftCote d’Azur 1/4 Zip Sleeveless Sport Dress $122 RightTop: Cote d’Azur 1/4 Zip Sport Top $102 Bottoms: White Scallop Skort $76

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Letting Go: Post Cancer Treatment Written By: Shelly Vaughn Breast Cancer Survivor and Author

Two bags of trash- seems like no big deal but it was SO emotional. (I wonder how it feels for other people who aren’t so sentimental about every little thing in life). These bags are the last round of my “cancer stuff” that I’ve held onto. The “essentials” from surgeries and treatment that I haven’t gotten rid of yet. In trying to explain to my husband, Rob, why this was a big step, I realized that it might help for others to hear it, too. And so I’ll share... These two bags are filled with the medical things that helped me through cancer treatments- the expired numbing cream to go on my port each time they accessed it for treatment; the wraps to keep the bags of ice on my hands during chemo treatments to minimize neuropathy; the “drain apron” that was essential to hold the drains post-surgery; the bandages and binders to help hold my body together as it healed. These items were valuable to me along the way, and holding onto them has made me feel prepared for the “what if...”

dig your toes into the sand to stand firm, or you time a jump just right so that you can ride it out with a little grace. It doesn’t seem so bad when you are ready and face it head-on.

I’ve always thought that part of the PTSD aspect of my experience was that it was so sudden and unexpected at my age at the time of diagnosis (36). I have often wondered how differently (if at all) it would have felt to go through it when women are “supposed to”- more like in my 50s or 60s. I wonder if it wouldn’t have been so traumatic if it was more expected and I was more prepared.

I pray every day that I don’t get hit by another wave. I feel guilt because my mom didn’t recover from her wave. The recent anniversary of the day another young survivor went to Heaven reminds me that it can be even more unexpected than my own hit.

Today, in a moment of freedom and excitement and worry and guilt and fear and peace... I let them go. 10

It makes me think of the wave that knocks you over in the ocean: when you’re facing it and watching it get closer to you, you are ready for the hit no matter how hard it comes. You bend your knees and you either


When you’re not expecting it- that’s when the wave knocks you over completely. That’s when you face plant and get a mouth full of saltwater. And you get all turned around and disoriented for a minute, not knowing what happened or where it came from.

Subconsciously, but not too far down to retrieve the thoughts when I need them, I know I’ve hung onto this stuff just in case. Today, in a moment of freedom and excitement and worry and guilt and fear and peace... I let them go. Shelly Vaughn is a breast cancer survivor and author originally from Pittsburgh, PA. She now lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband and two teenage daughters. She finds significance in processing life’s toughest times through conversations and writing. This has led to her publishing a book about her experiences in her memoir “Scars In The Sunlight: Reflections After a Disorienting Diagnosis” (available on Amazon).

Detoxing Your Home Written By: Cara Price PN1 Nutrition Coach, CrossFit L1 Trainer

shown that house plants increase productivity, reduce stress, and improve attention. A NASA study showed that house plants were one of the best natural ways to reduce air pollutants inside homes.

• Invest in a HEPA air filter No one is quite sure of the origins of spring cleaning. Still, springtime, in general, brings with it a renewed desire to tackle projects and accomplish tasks. After months of winter hibernation, animals, plants, and people all gain a burst of energy to take on life. There’s no better time to tackle cleaning and detoxing your home than in the spring. If you are currently going through cancer treatment, in the process of finishing treatment, or in remission, then detoxing your home can take on a deeper meaning for you and can be a simple way to take care of your health as well. According to the EPA, toxicity levels in homes are 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor air and in some cases exceed 100 times the amount of the same pollutant found in outdoor air. Detoxing your home may sound overwhelming or daunting, but it’s not hard at all. Here are 4 ways you can begin to detox your home quickly and easily:

• Take your shoes off before entering your home This is a super easy way to detox your home. When we walk around outside, we don’t just pick up dirt but also various chemicals on the soles of our shoes. Even if you don’t use pesticides and chemicals on your own lawn, other people and places do, thereby making it highly likely to track it inside and then transfer to pets, children, and bare feet.

• Buy house plants House plants not only look pretty, but it’s a commonly known scientific fact that they cleanse air by photosynthesis. Other studies have also

HEPA filters remove dirt, pollens, mold, and bacteria. You’ll want to be sure you purchase one with a carbon filter. Purchasing an air filter is a super simple way to clean up the air you breathe every day with just the touch of a button, and there are some great high-quality ones available at local hardware stores.

• Open your windows for 10 minutes every day You may think to open your windows if you burn something in the kitchen or to get rid of an overpowering odor. However, did you know that opening your windows for just 10 minutes each day is a simple way to flush out toxins? The EPA says that ventilation through open windows is an easy way to dilute indoor toxins produced by various sources within a home. As you can see, there are simple ways to detox your home. By implementing these easy suggestions during your spring cleaning, you’ll improve air quality and feel good about the process.

Footnotes: 1. “The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality.” CPSC.gov, 24 Feb. 2016, www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Guides/Home/The-Inside-StoryA-Guide-to-Indoor-Air-Quality. 2. “NASA Clean Air Study.” Wikipedia, 11 Jan. 2024, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ NASA_Clean_Air_Study#:~:text=Its%20results%20suggested%20that%2C%20 in. Accessed 14 Jan. 2024. 3. US EPA,OAR. “Improving Indoor Air Quality | US EPA.” US EPA, 25 Oct. 2018, www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/improving-indoor-air-quality.

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Power Up

Regaining Empowerment After Diagnosis and Treatment Written By: Debbie Norris Ovarian Cancer Survivor

You’ve heard the words, felt the fear, gone through or are going through the treatments. With each passing day, you may be feeling more and more out of control - out of control of what’s happening to your body and in your life. Has depression or anxiety set in? Have you found yourself crying? Feeling different than before? We’ve all been there, and it’s normal! You’re not alone in this. How you move forward and get back to some form of yourself is now where you can shift your focus. How do we, as cancer survivors, warriors and thrivers do this? How can we gain our power back? It starts with realizing we are now in the After Cancer (AC) portion of our life. What does that mean? Webster’s Dictionary defines AC or alternating current as “an electric current that reverses its direction at regularly recurring intervals.” I don’t know about you, but since being diagnosed with cancer, I totally feel like I have been reversing my direction at regularly recurring intervals, sometimes daily or hourly! How can our AC time of life be as powerful as the AC that brings power to our homes? First, we need to figure out where we can plug in and begin to EMPOWER ourselves. I personally found my initial empowerment by becoming my own health advocate. I began reading all the information I was given on the drugs and treatments. Everything I got from the doctors and pharmacy I read and researched. I wanted



to know what was happening, going to happen and if there were side effects, what they were. I had lists of questions for the doctor, nurses and pharmacist. I became known as the one who reads! Being a patient that advocates is very empowering; it gives you a feeling of control over your treatments and lets your healthcare professionals know you won’t back down when you know something’s not right. Another step I took in my EMPOWERMENT journey was to write down and start sharing my story. There is nothing more powerful than seeing the impact that the story of your journey has on others. Moving people to tears, moving them to be concerned for their health and take their symptoms seriously can give you a personal feel of purpose. Sharing gives you a voice, a reason for going through what you have. It turns the “why me” thoughts into “why not me” thoughts. I started sharing small, on social media. I moved to sharing through a program called “Survivors Teaching Students Saving Women’s Lives” through the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance. Imagine how empowered you might feel talking to medical students as an “expert” on ovarian cancer. Telling your story. Answering their questions. Putting a face to the diagnosis, not just words on a page in a book!! How can you do this? Find a local or national organization for your type of cancer. See if they need speakers or ambassadors for speaking engagements. Offer to speak at women’s clubs, community functions,

You have or are beating cancer. You’ve been given a second, third or more chance at life! You need to live it. senior centers, Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, PTO meetings, and anywhere that groups need speakers. Take the step and put yourself out there. The rush that comes from sharing and being the expert in the room is amazing! But wait, you think, “I’m stuck in anxiety and depression. I’m immobilized with fear and dread. I’m still in treatment and may die. What about me? I feel too powerless!” This is that other AC, alternating current. A lamp can’t turn on without someone plugging it in and turning it on. Our brains and emotions sometimes need help plugging in and being turned to a different frequency. I personally see a counselor on a regular basis. I feel that mental health for cancer survivors is an important part of living and thriving. Many times, empowering yourself means taking care of you, and taking care of you means seeking help from a mental health professional. Mental health is one of those places where personal thinking and societal stigmas may need to reverse and change direction. I can personally attest that I would not be the person or in the place I am now, if I had not started counseling five and a half years ago. I also was very truthful with my primary doctor, and he started me on antidepressants, which we have adjusted a few times to better help my needs. This, to me, is one of the most important pieces of EMPOWERing yourself. There are fun ways to gain feelings of empowerment in your new AC life as well. Try something you never would have before. You’re free to create a new you! Have you always wanted to climb a mountain? - Train and DO IT!! Have you always wanted to start a book club? - DO IT! If you have what seems like a way out there, dream, start the steps to do it! Nothing should be stopping you! You have or are beating cancer. You’ve been given a second, third or more chance at life! You need to live it. What are some of your dreams? Your desires? Do you want to travel to exotic places? Live on a beach? Settle in a cabin in the woods and write? Be happy with your family? Start a company? Start a nonprofit? Help your neighbors? I’m not suggesting a ‘free love,” go crazy kind of life. What I’m suggesting is to adjust to this new After Cancer time of your life and regain the feeling of being in charge. Get back some of the control so you don’t feel like the world is just going on around you and you don’t have any control over what’s happening. Do what you need to do to be plugged in and turn your power on!

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Hope Springs Eternal... or Does It? Written By: Wendy Harpham, MD, FACP Cancer Survivor, Speaker and Author

Even if the odds are not good, you still have hope, right? As the saying goes, hope springs eternal. Or does it? Maybe you have times when you aren’t feeling much hope for cure… or pain relief…or for life to feel normal again. Do you ever wonder whether you are doing something wrong? As a physician and survivor, I agree with 18th-century poet Alexander Pope that “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” Yet I don’t expect to feel strong hope all the time in every situation. Here’s an interpretation of those famous words that both explains why and helps me find hope in tough times. The inability to know the future often causes anxiety during and after cancer treatment. That’s okay unless your apprehension makes it hard to function or appreciate what joys are possible. In An Essay on Man, Pope asserts that while there’s no guarantee you’ll experience “future bliss,” you can always depend on hope to help you live well now. Those are wise words. While in treatment, hope of optimizing the outcome helps by motivating you to eat when you have no appetite, report symptoms when you’d prefer to avoid more doctor visits, and take walks when it’s hard to get off the couch. Health-promoting actions calm anxiety by giving you a sense of control and increasing your confidence in achieving the best possible outcome. If dealing with recurrent or chronic cancer, hope of research finding better treatments can quiet your fear of tomorrow so you can embrace opportunities for happiness today. Those are just a few of the innumerable ways hope helps. The challenge is that hope doesn’t always come easily, through no fault of your own. All other things being equal, it may be harder to feel hope while in pain, sleep deprived, or grieving. Or if dealing with chronic stress, certain medications, hormonal shifts, neuro-injury, or memories of someone who died of the same cancer. In those and other situations, hope doesn’t spring forth the way bunnies hop forward energetically but, rather, the way oak trees germinate slowly from acorns under proper conditions.



Every situation contains kernels of hope. For one, there is always something good to hope for. For another, the best possible outcome for patients like you can happen for you. Thinking and talking about that statistical possibility may, over time, help you move from knowing that fact to believing it. Your belief sets the stage for feelings of hope to spring forth. Hope naturally waxes and wanes. To find hope in tough times, find something good to hope for, even if just hope to get through the day. Work with your healthcare and support teams to address all sources of physical or emotional distress. Every day, find ways to recharge your hope (see box). In uncertain times, hope is key to making life the best it can be today and every day.

Hope Needs Recharging Hope is a feeling. All feelings are fleeting. To keep my hope from fading away, every day I take steps to energze my hope. My favorite ways include... •

Listening to others’ success stories

Helping someone else

Reading inspirational sayings

Reciting uplifting prayers

Listening to lively music

Renewing a subscription

Excerpt from page 43 of “Healing Hope - Through and Beyond Cancer”

Wendy S. Harpham is a doctor of internal medicine, 33-year survivor, award-winning author, and respected figure in survivorship. When recurrences of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma forced her to retire from patient care in 1993, she continued to inform, inspire, and advocate for patients through writing and speaking. In addition to her books and blog for patients, she writes a popular column for professionals in Oncology Times. Dr. Harpham treasures family time with her husband, children, and six grandchildren. She enjoys music, reading, and speed walking. You can access many of her articles and books at wendyharpham.com

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How to Use Writing in Your Fight Written By: Katy Bowser Hutson Breast Cancer Survivor, Poet and Author

Chemo, surgery, and radiation helped my body survive cancer. Writing helped my heart and mind survive. I started writing my way through cancer from the moment I saw my puckered, red breast and ran in for a mammogram. I’d just come from a week at a writing retreat, and as I sat, waiting for my results, I pulled out my notebook and started scrawling my thoughts, my worries, my fears. Even as the doctor came in to give me her suspected diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer, I had pen and paper in hand to get down all the details, but also as an emotional shield. I was going to save my tears until I told my family.



The thoughts and feelings that come with cancer are overwhelming. I find that when I write my thoughts down, a number of things happen. Writing them gives me somewhere to safely deposit the swirl of thoughts, untangling them, one at a time. Sometimes that means that I can deal with them in a calmer moment, or remember them to share with a friend. Also, I often actually realize what I’m thinking as I write! Writing, like all good forms of creating (music, drawing, baking bread!), gives you power. There is something strong and beautiful about creating in the face of something that’s trying to uncreate you. Writing can be a really powerful way to fight, and to find peace.

Eraser Losing my hair: No big deal, really. Eyelashes, on the other hand, scared me. The shadows, the depth of my face Erased. Blanking me out

Here are a few ways to try writing: -Set a Timer and Start Writing Try three minutes, five. Whatever works. Don’t stop and think, don’t fix it. Just put your pen to paper and go until your timer dings. (Or quacks, or beeps, or whatever.) The only goal is to go. It doesn’t have to be good, it doesn’t even have to make sense. You might surprise yourself.

-Try a Haiku There’s a reason this simple form has been around for so long. Just three lines, with five syllables, then seven syllables, then five. Haiku can be a really good way to meditate on one thought, or one feeling.

-Blackout Poems Pick a page out of a magazine (this one?) and a Sharpie. Find words that resonate with you, and mark out all of the ones you don’t need. It’s a bit like a puzzle- a poem emerges.

Blankety-blank cancer Already attempting to flatten me Into a one dimensional character I have other stories to tell I have things to do I’m a beauty bearer Where you, cancer, copy furiously, I fumblingly create. You cannot uncreate me. -Taken from Now I Lay Me Down to Fight by Katy Bowser Hutson. Copyright (c) 2023 by Katherine Jane Hutson. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515, USA.www.ivpress.com Katy Bowser Hutson is a writer, a songwriter, and an inflammatory breast cancer survivor. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and two kids. She discovered fountain pens this year, and she is never going back. Visit Katy’s website, katyhutson.com, to learn more.

-Write a Letter to Future You or Past You I’ve written letters to Eight Year Old Katy and Eighty Year Old Katy. Tell her your hopes, tell her your fears, tell her your wonderings, tell her what you love about her. Have tissues on hand.

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What You Need to Know About

Written By: Jennifer G. Gill, MD, PhD

I’ll never forget meeting Abby* for the first time in the hospital. She had developed severe breathing problems and scans of her lungs were highly suspicious for cancer. Lung samples were sent for further testing, but it would be several days before the results came back. As a dermatologist who specializes in melanoma, I was called to evaluate a new “knot” Abby had developed near a prior melanoma scar. I performed a bedside procedure to remove a small piece of the “knot” for testing which soon confirmed her melanoma had returned. Her lung samples later showed melanoma as well. Abby was shocked and told me, “I didn’t know that melanoma could move to other places in the body. People need to know this can happen!”



Abby was a dear patient of mine for several years before she passed away, but I promised her I would do my best to share her message. In the world of cancer, knowledge is power. Through educating ourselves and those around us, we can all work to decrease our risks, catch cancer early, and seek the best treatments when necessary.

Learn about melanoma. Melanoma is not the most common type of skin cancer, but it is one of the most dangerous. Melanoma is a cancer that comes from the cells in our skin that make pigment or color. A person’s risk of melanoma is partly dependent on their skin tone, with the fairest-skinned people

The magazine for women affected by cancer


being at the highest risk. Melanoma often looks like a changing brown or black spot and is not always very large. Sometimes melanoma grows out of a normal-appearing area of skin, and other times it begins within an existing mole. Learning what melanoma can look like and its associated risks could help make a difference in your or a loved one’s life.

Catching melanoma early is important. As in other cancers, our goal is always to catch melanoma as early as possible. When melanoma is diagnosed, it is classified by “stage” partly based on how far it has grown below the skin surface. When melanoma is caught at its earliest stage and is confined to the top layer of skin (aka “melanoma in situ”), it can be surgically removed with a 99+% survival rate five years later. However, for patients that have even 1mm of detectable melanoma growth below the surface, we begin to discuss the possibility that the melanoma may have spread away from the skin, or “metastasized”. For this reason, catching melanoma at the earliest stage is important. This not only means a higher likelihood of cure, but also a better chance of avoiding the need for other more intensive treatments like radiation or regular drug infusions.

Check your skin and know when to get help from a dermatologist. The best way to catch a melanoma early is to check your skin (all of it!). Patients with lighter skin are most likely to develop melanoma in sun-exposed areas, with the most common site for women being the backs of the thighs. Patients with darker skin are more likely to develop melanoma in areas unrelated to the sun, including the palms, soles, and genitals. However, anyone can develop melanoma anywhere, which is why it’s important to know your body and not let areas get overlooked. We recommend patients do self-skin checks every month to look for any new or changing spots. There are many helpful resources to learn what melanoma can look like including websites from the American Academy of Dermatology, Skin Cancer Foundation, and the AIM at Melanoma Foundation. Many people refer to learning the “ABCDEs” of melanoma which can often appear as moles with Asymmetry, Border irregularities, Color changes, Diameters bigger than a pencil eraser, and Evolving/changing spots. Another common tip is the “ugly duckling rule”, which is taking notice of anything new on your skin that does not look like anything else you have. While these are helpful tips for screening yourself, not everything that falls under these categories is melanoma. If you see something that you are concerned about, it’s important to see a dermatologist who can help determine if a spot needs to be sampled or not. In addition to self-skin checks, some higher-risk people should see dermatologists regularly for skin evaluations. These include people with a personal or family history of melanoma, a known genetic predisposition to skin cancer, a large number of moles, a history of significant sunburns, a weakened immune system, Parkinson’s Disease,



and more. A dermatologist can help you assess your overall risk level and guide you in how often you need to be seen for regular skin exams.

You can lower your risk of melanoma. We know that a large portion of melanomas are related to sun exposure (especially sunburns). Wearing photoprotective clothing or sunscreen, seeking shade, being mindful of the UV index, and avoiding tanning beds are all helpful in lowering your risk of melanoma. For the risks that can’t be changed, like your genetics or past sun behavior, be diligent about watching your skin and seeking help so that melanoma can be caught and treated early.

Melanoma can quickly metastasize. Although common skin cancers like “basal cell carcinoma” or “squamous cell carcinoma” don’t usually move beyond the skin, melanoma is different. Even in a short period of time it can travel to other places in the body, including internal organs like the lungs, liver, brain and others. For this reason, patients who are diagnosed with melanoma need close surveillance. At a minimum, they will need to see their dermatologist regularly to monitor their skin and lymph nodes. Some patients with deeper melanomas may need to have regular imaging, such as PET scans or CT scans. Once melanoma has moved to other places in the body, it generally requires more advanced treatments.

Have hope! Metastatic melanoma can often be treated now. When I first began my medical training in the early 2000s, metastatic melanoma had no good treatment options. Thanks to one of the biggest medical and scientific breakthroughs in our lifetime, this is no longer the case. Immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of one’s own immune system to fight cancer, was first tried in metastatic melanoma patients with great success. Since that time, immunotherapies have been used in other cancers, often with major benefits. The importance of this discovery was acknowledged with the Nobel Prize in 2018, and the incredible story is described in the documentary “Jim Allison: Breakthrough”. Since this breakthrough, every year brings the introduction of newer and improved agents for melanoma. Thanks to these advances, the majority of patients with metastatic melanoma are now able to survive their disease. While many of these new drugs were not available for my patient Abby, they offer hope for patients living with melanoma today. If you have questions about whether you may qualify or need one of these newer treatments, talk with your dermatologist or oncologist to get more information. (*name changed for anonymity)

Everyone needs a good list of JAMS for a chemo session, a car ride, a walk or maybe a run. Check these out.

Rise Up - Andra Day Beautiful - Christina Aguilera Keeping Your Head Up - Birdy

If you’d like to submit your idea for a future JAM list, go to www.brightermagazine.org or scan the QR code and submit your favorite songs.

Thank you to this year’s Brighter Charity Pickleball Tournament Sponsors!

Don’t Just Swallow this Side-Effect: Get Your Gulp On! Written By: Elizabeth Otterbein Cancer Rehab Austin

Swallowing is a complex process involving 3 stages and multiple muscles and structures which must function precisely to ensure foods and liquids pass safely through our throat into our esophagus. A breakdown in this process is referred to as dysphagia. When food and liquid go the wrong way into our trachea instead of into our esophagus, it is called aspiration. Most of us never think about our swallow. We use it ~500x a day to take in nutrition without any real effort; however, if you receive a diagnosis of head or neck cancer, it is important to know that your swallow can be impacted. It is estimated that 90% of individuals diagnosed with cancer in the mouth or throat will develop swallowing issues at some point during their treatment; because the focus of treatment is on immediate survival, this common side effect is often dismissed as temporary. Unfortunately, patients who develop chronic swallowing difficulties are frequently not referred for therapy until the issue becomes debilitating. The good news is, with prophylactic management, these issues can be significantly reduced or avoided completely, and even if you’ve already been through treatment and have chronic difficulty swallowing, there are still many things you can address to help. When diagnosed with head or neck cancer, you may receive one or a combination of treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, and/ or radiation. Each of these interventions impacts the swallow in its own way.



Surgery: • May cause changes to the structures involved in the swallow

Chemotherapy: • Can cause muscle atrophy and changes to sensation/responsiveness of the swallow


Head & Neck Cancer Treatment Options

• Causes atrophy of the swallow muscles • Can cause mouth/throat sores during treatment (usually around week 5-6) which are painful, resulting in further disuse of the swallow and increased atrophy • Often causes dry mouth To combat swallow atrophy, it is helpful to start a prophylactic swallow exercises program prior to beginning radiation. It is best to request a referral to an oncology speech language pathologist who can guide you through a program tailored to your specific needs, but below is an example of a frequently used program which is shown to be effective in reducing muscle atrophy.

Pharyngocise Protocol: • Effortful Swallows: 50-100x/day • Chin tuck against resistance (CTAR): 25x, 3x/day • Pitch glides up on “eee”: 5-10x, 3x/day • Range of motion exercises including stretches for the mouth, tongue and neck


Many of these exercises can also be used to regain strength after treatment! Two other major factors which can impact the swallow both during and after treatment are lymphedema and dry mouth.

Lymphedema: Lymphedema management can be taught by a certified lymphedema therapist or a physical, occupational or speech therapist who has been appropriately trained to manage this symptom. If you have swelling or a feeling of fullness anywhere in the mouth or throat regions, it is best to follow up with a therapist to address these issues.


Dry Mouth: Try to stay well hydrated with 8-10, 8oz glasses of water/day. Also, try chewing gum or sucking on lozenges containing xylitol. This artificial sweetener has been shown to act as a salivary stimulant - it encourages your salivary glands to produce more saliva. This is in contrast to products such as Biotene which operate as salivary substitutes, meaning it mimics saliva in your mouth until it is gone. It is important to know if you are just beginning your journey with head and neck cancer that you can start therapy immediately to manage your symptoms prophylactically and if you already have difficulty swallowing, know you are not alone! Request a referral to a local oncology speech pathologist to get more info.

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Her New Hobby INTEGRATING SELF-CARE Written By: Natasha Parker Triple Negative Breast Cancer 2B

I often get asked by family and friends, “What do you mean by selfcare?” For me, self-care refers to a multitude of practices that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and it has become a key part of my life after my diagnosis. While working through my cancer journey, it has been vital to practice self-care to cope with the physical and emotional challenges. Personally, I embed at least two self-care practices per day. It’s not about setting myself to a strict regimen, but instead finding what makes me feel good each day. Whether it’s taking a nap, making a nutrient-rich meal, or simply going for a walk, these little acts of self-care have helped me parent my four children, work when I can, and maintain some level of normalcy for myself and my family.

Physical Health & Self-Care It can be hard to hear, but exercising at least 20 mins per day does consistently elevate one’s mood, and it helps me to feel like I’ve accomplished something. Most days, these twenty minutes are spent walking on a treadmill or outside. In Missouri, we tend to have very cold winters that lead to many indoor walks, but I love when the temperature rises and I can get outside. Further, I do yoga to improve



my strength and flexibility and quiet my mind. I also use sauna blankets at home or visit my local sauna studio a few times a week to sweat out toxins, though I always stay mindful of hydration while engaging in this practice. Afterwards, I enjoy a cold plunge in my bathtub or a cold shower. I find this helps with inflammation and pain, and the shock of the cold therapy acts as a short meditation. Of course, always make sure to discuss with your oncology team before doing either of these.

Food & Self-Care Caring for my body also means eating nutrient-dense (and yummy) meals. One of my current favorites is Chicken Fajita soup. This soup is loaded in veggies and cooked in organic chicken bone broth, which elevates the healing potential in the soup. You can find the recipe below. Preparing and eating nutritious meals not only nourishes my body, but it can also bring a sense of comfort and accomplishment.

Mental Health & Self-Care Practices like napping, drinking herbal tea, and meditating/prayer all go hand-in-hand to help reset my nervous system, which then aids in my body’s recovery. I’ll be honest, making time to just sit and be still can be so hard in our fast-paced world! However, I’ve found that doing so improves how I handle the hard days of cancer treatment. This doesn’t mean I don’t cry, yell, or get frustrated with the process – I certainly do! But incorporating these mental health practices make sure I address these feelings and don’t stay in them for too long.

Self-Care is Personal Self-care is deeply personal, especially when navigating something as challenging as cancer. I hope you can find what works for you and allow yourself the flexibility to adapt based on how you feel each day. All of the ideas listed above aren’t medical advice, just a sharing of what’s helped me cope and maintain my role as a mom. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare team for guidance and support.

Chicken Fajita Soup Recipe: Ingredients- I prefer organic/grass fed options •

Drizzle olive oil

1 Large yellow onion, diced

4 Medium carrots, diced

3 Celery stalks, diced

1 Medium zucchini, diced

1 Red bell pepper, diced

2 Cloves of garlic, minced

Salt and pepper

1 Can black beans, drained and rised

1 (15-ounce) Can corn, drained

1 (15-ounce) Can diced tomatoes

1 Tsp chili powder

2 (32-ounces) Chicken broth

To Serve

3 Chicken breasts

Place diced avocado, tortilla strips and cheese (either shredded mexican-style or cheddar cheese) at the bottom of a bowl, then top with soup and add a dollop of sour cream and enjoy!

Corn tortilla

Chicken Fajita Soup: Preparation

1. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and add

enough olive oil to thinly coat the bottom. Sauté onions, carrots, celery, zucchini, peppers and garlic until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add in beans, corn, tomatoes and chili powder. Add in chicken broth, bring to a boil, then let simmer until all the flavors come together. Add a heave pinch of salt and the chicken, then bring to a boil and cook until chicken is cooked through.

2. Remove chicken, shred and return to the soup. 3. Pour about 1/4 inch of olive oil into a separate frying pan set over medium-high heat. Add in cut tortilla strips, a handful at at time, and cook until crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt while still hot.

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Share Worthy Recipes Written by: Chef Anjani Vasson

Salmon Omelette Salmon Omelette with Dill and Salad Greens Yield: 2 servings

This is a delicious satisfying meal which can not only be used for breakfast but also for lunch or dinner. The recipe can use canned or freshly cooked salmon depending on how much time you have that day. Feel free to add other herbs if you don’t have dill. It can be adapted to your family’s tastes. Apart from taste, salmon and eggs are both good sources of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues. Protein can also help to keep you feeling full and satisfied after eating. Salmon and eggs are also both excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have many health benefits, including: ● Reduced risk of heart disease: Omega-3 fatty acids can help to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and improve cholesterol levels. These effects can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. ● Improved brain function: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain development and function. They can help to improve memory, learning, and attention. Omega-3 fatty acids may also help to protect against age-related cognitive decline. ● Reduced risk of depression: Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have antidepressant effects. They can help to improve mood, reduce anxiety and promote overall well-being.



1 (7.5 ounce) can salmon, without oil or salt (leftover cooked salmon can be used) 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dry dill Freshly ground pepper 2 organic eggs 2 teaspoons unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil 1 cup pre-washed greens of your choice (mesclun/arugula/ mixed)

1) Drain juice out of the can, and put the rest of the contents in a mixing bowl. With a fork, mash the salmon well to break up all pieces, skin and bones. Add salt, lemon juice, herbs, and mix well with a fork. Grind in pepper to taste. 2) Break the eggs into salmon mixture, and mix in thoroughly. 3) Heat a 9-inch cast iron or other skillet, and add butter until it foams. Pour in salmon-egg mixture and smooth it out with a fork or spatula. 4) Cook, covered, over very low heat for about 5-6 minutes, or until set. 5) You should be able to shake the pan and have the whole omelet slide around. 6) Turn over by sliding it onto a pot cover and turning it over into a pan, to cook for another 3 minutes. 7) Serve with a simple green salad with lemon juice and olive oil.

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day Humorous Anecdotes From the Frontlines of Survivorship I chose the day to shave my head. The day after we did this, I was in the shower. I reached up to wash my hair and wring the water from it. I started giggling because I forgot I didn’t have any hair! I finished my shower and flipped down to wrap a towel around my head. I busted out laughing because once again I had forgotten I had no hair!!! My husband burst into the bathroom to see what was going on. I was standing in the tub naked, dripping, shivering and laughing hysterically all because I forgot I didn’t have hair!!

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the first time, my granddaughters were 4 & 1 years old. I was trying to explain chemotherapy to the four-year-old. I told her the doctor was going to give me medicine to make the sickness go away but it would make my hair fall out. She looked me dead in the eye and with a serious tone, said, “You better keep that way up high just to make sure I don’t get into it!” I told her the doctor would give me the medicine at the hospital. She sighed and said, “Good! That was close!”

- Submitted by Debbie N. Germantown, WI

- Submitted by Alice F. Oconomowoc, WI

*Keep the web page bookmarked, as it will be updated with our latest finds!

Melanoma Survivor, Teresa Dearborn Written and Photographed By: Erin Schreyer



Teresa Dearborn has been many things to many people: a compassionate elementary school counselor with a joyfully decorated pink office, a devoted mother to four amazing sons, a loving and supportive wife to her science educator husband, a Miss Alaska beauty pageant winner and state representative for the Miss USA crown, a fierce Ironman competitor and tireless marathon runner…and a cancer survivor. Let it be known, though, that like most women who have been diagnosed, she would strongly prefer that cancer isn’t the thing that defines her; not when she’s worked hard for so many other things and particularly because she is so intentional to think of others’ needs. Although she recognizes the importance of advocating for herself and speaking up to have her personal needs met, she is fiercely determined to use every one of her life experiences - good and challenging - for others’ benefit. First diagnosed in 2011 when she was pregnant with her youngest son, Teresa found an “ugly” mole on her calf. Wanting to give birth before she had it removed, she waited for the procedure and then had a large excision and biopsy revealing her melanoma diagnosis. Thankfully at that time, her doctor was able to get clean margins and nearby lymph nodes showed no evidence of disease. “I was like a lot of people who have been diagnosed with melanoma,” Teresa explained. “You think, ‘remove the mole, margins are clear, lymph nodes are clear, we’re good. I’m cancer-free.’ I was guilty of that, believing it was fully behind me and nothing that I needed to deal with anymore.”

“I was giving my son a bath one night, and I ran my hands up my quads (thighs). I thought they were just sore, but in my right leg, I discovered a lump that was deep in my leg.” She immediately had her husband take a look as she pointed to the curious, hard mass while clarifying that it caused no pain. His first guess was that it was a lymph node, which instantaneously triggered Teresa’s gut instinct. “I remember it like it was yesterday,” she said. “I just knew that the cancer was back. It was intuitive, because I know my body so well.”

She went on to compete in the Whistler Ironman triathlon, a longdistance race consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run. As one might imagine, it takes rigorous and time-consuming training to prepare for such a thing, and she finished feeling strong and exhilarated by her accomplishment (as she should, given the small percentage of athletes who will ever attempt this feat, never mind complete it!). Not only that, but Teresa managed her competitive conditioning while working full-time as an elementary school counselor and mother to a busy toddler. “I look back on that time and wonder how I did all that,” she exclaimed with wonderment and laughter.

Because it was near her groin area, she was able to be seen quickly by her gynecological practice. The nurse practitioner felt the lump but didn’t think it felt like a tumor. Teresa’s voice began to tremble as she teared up while recalling the words she spoke, “I need this to be biopsied. I don’t have a good feeling, and I need it to be looked at right away. You can send me for an ultrasound first, but it has to be right away.” The first glance of the scan the next day confirmed what Teresa knew. Her cancer had returned after eight years of good health. A subsequent needle biopsy quickly doubled down on her metastatic melanoma diagnosis.

Fast forward to 2019, and Teresa was craving another athletic challenge. She began training for a marathon and just couldn’t shake the fatigue. At first, she simply wondered if it was just too much for her at this stage of life and with her other responsibilities. She knew she gave so much of herself to her children, both at home and at school, where her students often had additional needs that extended beyond regular work hours. Loving it all, Teresa was a bit discouraged as she struggled to run as hard as she had in the past. Then a revelation came that brought additional explanation.

Acting quickly, Teresa’s gynecologist began making calls to medical colleagues in Seattle. This was a surprising but necessary step because there was not (at least at that time) an oncologist in Alaska that specialized in melanoma! She needed to be seen “in the lower 48” and with a high priority, since metastatic melanoma can go wherever it wants, including to the brain or major organs. Thankfully, some connections were made to the University of Washington Medical Center, where Teresa had surgery to remove the mass in her leg, as well as all of the lymph nodes in her groin area. Additionally, she had a second procedure called LYMPHA that helped with blood flow after having lymph nodes removed, decreasing her chances of lymphedema.

“I just knew that the cancer was back. It was intuitive, because I know my body so well.” The magazine for women affected by cancer


“It’s been great, but I still wear compression on my leg at night, and I try to stay active every day,” she quickly stated. “And you have to keep a sense of humor about it. We call my compression sleeve ‘the oven mitt’. It goes from here to here (she illustrated on her leg and hip) and it wraps around my waist, so hey, you just do what you gotta do! We have a lot of jokes about the combination of my cute nightie with the oven mitt; I just wear it with pride.” “Being athletic, I have a lot of fear about my leg being compromised,” she continued. “I do what will help, but it can definitely be hard not having anyone to talk to about it. At one point it was all I could think about, even before the cancer returned, and I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. I had to search, and I eventually found some people on Facebook.” Thankfully, after a year of travel back and forth to Seattle, with newfound Facebook melanoma survivor friends and a full regimen of immunotherapy, Teresa was grateful to have clear scans in 2020. She felt like she was really winning for getting through the year of COVID-19 and cancer! And she was more than ready to get back to life as normal. Amazingly, the following year, she began training for another Ironman!

With more immunotherapy in her future - it’s the most effective treatment for melanoma - it’s been a process thus far with necessary breaks in between regimens due to the adverse side effects. She has a special connection with her oncologist, though, and she often hugs him and tells him she believes that he and God are saving her life. Teresa is not missing any opportunity to find the blessings and to see every good thing in the midst of her challenges. Still, that doesn’t prevent her from advocating for herself and ensuring she’s on the best treatment path. She recently visited her cousin in Dallas and had other specialists weigh in to be sure she’s doing what’s best to regain her health. With both relief and optimism, she confessed, “That was really reassuring to have agreement on what we’re doing.” “Regardless, I don’t let the numbers get me down,” she shared firmly. “I choose to live in faith and not fear. I’m not going to miss out! I have a young son, and I want to see so many things with him, but my older kids still need me too. That mama part drives me, but aside from that, I just don’t want to take anything for granted. Just feeling good and being able to get up - that is such a gift. I tell people all the time, I’m upright and moving forward - I’m GOOD!”

“I choose to live in faith and not fear.”

During training, she again felt more tired and sluggish than she knew she should. She knew she had been training well, and she literally felt in her gut that something was once more not right. “I felt it behind my belly button. You couldn’t see anything, but I could feel it deep within me,” Teresa explained. “I had scans coming up again, and I knew I needed them. We really need to know our bodies and not second guess ourselves. We have to advocate for ourselves, and I just knew it was back.” Sure enough, scans later revealed two tumors in Teresa’s small bowel, although it wasn’t too surprising as she had already begun getting sick and losing weight. Back to the University of Washington she went for surgery with a specialist who removed part of her small intestine with clear margins. After a time of healing from surgery, she was ready again for an intense immunotherapy combination to defeat the cancer cells. “I was trying to get through four rounds, but I was only able to get through two. I just got so sick…and that’s when my steroid journey began. It’s been helpful, but it’s the drug you love to hate,” Teresa explained with laughter. “I’m 53 and my hormones and thyroid are already messed up!”



Teresa’s optimism clearly comes from two things she relies on heavily: faith and love. “I have a deep faith, and I’m also always open to love. I receive it, and I want to share as much as I can with others too,” she expressed with a smile. Then, she burst into laughter to continue, “I’m really a fun, sparkly kind of person. You can imagine how I felt when I found out the melanoma ribbon is black!! I’m so much more of a pink person, but we’re going to make black as fun as we can!”

Although there aren’t a lot of people (at least that she can find) with melanoma in Alaska, Teresa also underscored the importance of finding people to talk to when going through treatment. “Losing your hair is hard; it’s kind of your crown of glory, but it’s not all that you lose in treatment. You have to process that with people who can relate.” She also added that it’s critical to learn how to articulate what you need. “I’m a counselor so I’m trained in these skills, but it may not come easily to everyone. Regardless, it’s incredibly valuable to learn how to tell your friends and family what you need to hear and specifically how you could use their help and support.” “That’s part of why I want to feel well,” she continued. “It’s not just for me; it’s for my purpose. I have these counseling skills and I want to help others. I want to be there for them. I never went through a

“why me” phase. I’ve always been ready to do whatever is next so I can recover and do what I’m supposed to do.” It’s common among people to believe that it’s “just skin cancer”. Limited knowledge allows people to mistakenly assume that it simply gets cut off and you move on. Teresa herself admits she thought the same thing. Now, when she meets anyone who has had skin cancer, she tells them, “I don’t want you to live in fear, but I do want to encourage you to be aware of your lymph nodes and your body. Pay attention and get anything suspicious checked out as early as possible. And trust your instincts.” While Teresa continues with her treatment, she’s committed to noticing the little things and being grateful for each moment and each person who comes her way. “Let’s all just take a moment to stop and look at what we have today. I was like this before cancer, but this attitude of gratitude has only become more profound because of it. I’m not going to miss the blessings of every day.” Wise words from a wise counselor, advocate and purposeful, caring woman. There are so many ways she can be described, but without question and by a landslide, it is love above all that defines her.

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Hair Hopes and Happenings My Hair is Gone Written By: Jeanna Doyle Licensed Cosmetologist and Trained Medical Aesthetic Provider

Welcome back to this edition of “Hair Hopes and Happenings” a series designed to provide you with information on your hair before, during and after treatment. If you are in the middle of treatment and your hair has shed or you have shaved your head and are looking to address questions about this new uncharted territory, this series is for you. Here are the answers to the questions most frequently asked:

How do I care for my scalp? Throughout the day, it’s essential to protect your skin and scalp by using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, preferably one that offers moisturization and is waterproof. When you’re outdoors, including activities like driving or running errands, consider also wearing a hat, wig, or scarf, as some medications may induce or exacerbate photosensitivity. In the evening, focus on relieving dryness by using a combination of an oil and moisturizer. Reserve the use of oil for nighttime, as it can make your scalp more susceptible to sunburn. For scalp cleansing, opt for a gentle shampoo, just as you would for your hair, or you can use your favorite facial cleanser.



Do I need sunscreen under my wig/ scarf? Maybe. If your wig features a monofilament top, designed to create a natural appearance as though your hair is growing from the scalp, then it’s advisable to wear sunscreen. If you’re uncertain, a simple test can help you determine whether it’s necessary. Hold your wig up to a source of light, and if you can see through it, that means the sun can also penetrate it and reach your scalp. The same test applies to your scarf; if it’s sheer, it’s a good idea to apply sunscreen. Just wait for the sunscreen to set for about twenty minutes before wearing your wig or scarf, and be sure to blot away any excess. Avoid wearing moisturizer beneath your wig, as it may potentially affect the integrity of any hand-tied sections of your wig. Save the additional moisturizing routine for nighttime.

My head gets cold at night but I am having hot flashes. What can I do? Fluctuations in temperature can significantly disrupt the quality of your sleep. When we lose the hair on our heads, we also lose a means of

regulating body heat. This, when combined with hot flashes, can create less than ideal sleeping conditions. I recommend a partial coverage approach, similar to the feeling of keeping one foot out of the covers. Consider using a cotton bandana-style scarf, a triangular piece that wraps around your hairline, goes behind your ears, and ties at the base of your head. This provides coverage on top while remaining open in the back, ensuring both comfort for a cool head and a means of heat escape for those experiencing hot flashes. Alternatively, you can modify your favorite nighttime head covering by adding some ventilation around the crown of the head with a few strategic cuts using a pair of scissors.

treatment, new hairs are simultaneously emerging. Give your hair some time to fully recover - new growth is in progress, but you may still notice some shedding until the treatment is complete.

I have new growth. Is my hair coming back?

I recommend keeping your hair short until it has reached a sufficient thickness to cover your scalp before allowing it to grow out in length. In other words, if your scalp still appears sparse, continue trimming your hair until you achieve the desired thickness. Allow your hair some time to grow back thicker and stronger before transitioning to a longer style.

Hair growth occurs in three distinct cycles: the growth phase, the resting phase, and the shedding phase. These cycles overlap, with new hair continuously growing while some remain in a resting state and others are shedding. Have you ever wondered why, after shaving your legs, you can feel stubble on the same day? It’s because of these ongoing growth cycles. So, even as your hair is shedding during

Should I keep shaving my head? Given that hair typically grows at a rate of about half an inch per month, and I don’t recommend shaving it down to the scalp initially, but rather leave it at around ¼ of an inch, most women undergoing treatment may not need to shave their heads again during this period. Nevertheless, it’s advisable to trim your hair to maintain a neat appearance as it regrows.

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My hat gives me a headache. What can I do? If prior to hair loss you’ve not been wearing a hat regularly and are now experiencing headaches, it may be related to this change in your routine. To address this, consider reducing the daily hours you spend wearing the hat. Pay attention to the fit of the hat, including its tightness and how much of your head’s surface it covers. For instance, notice whether the hat fits snugly all over, like a ball cap, or if it mainly touches the outer edges of your head, as is the case with a fedora-style hat. If the contact area it too snug it can increase the chances of a headache. You can add a scarf under your hat to cover your head if you have concerns about the hat coming off and exposing your head.

My wig doesn’t fit now that my hair I am still working out, but my wig is is gone. What can I do? hot. What can I do? If you shopped for a wig with long or thick hair and now your hair has shed or you have shaved it, you might be experiencing a looser than desired fit. Most wigs come with adjustability features, such as bra-like hooks or Velcro fasteners at the base of the wig. To address this issue, follow these steps: 1. 2. 3. 4.


Turn the wig so that the interior base is exposed. Locate the fastener at the back of the wig. Make an adjustment by moving it slightly toward the center of the back. Be cautious not to overtighten it all at once, as this could lead to discomfort or create excess fabric at the crown, potentially causing headaches. Begin with a small adjustment and, if it still feels too loose, consider using a wig grip headband designed to prevent the wig from slipping. You can find one online or at a local wig retailer.

This should help you achieve a more secure and comfortable fit for your wig.

My scarf won’t stay on. What can I do? For a smooth and secure fit with silky or slippery scarves, consider using a wig grip headband. These versatile accessories can be conveniently purchased online or at a wig or beauty supply store. A wig grip headband features adjustable Velcro closures and is primarily designed to keep wigs in place, but it works well for scarves too. Here’s how to use it: Once you’ve positioned the headband on your head, tie your scarf in your preferred style. To further enhance its stability, you can use bobby pins to secure the scarf to the wig grip headband. Simply slide a bobby pin on each side near your ears, or for added security, use two bobby pins on each side in a crisscross fashion, forming an “X” pattern. Ensure that the pins are discreetly hidden behind your ears while attaching the scarf to the wig grip headband with the pins.



Wigs are designed to promote ventilation, yet they can retain heat, particularly during physical activities. Partial wig and hat combinations provide a convenient solution. This partial wig is specially created to offer a natural hair appearance with a baseball cap-style top. The top resembles a standard ball cap, with hair attached along the hat’s perimeter. These combinations are especially well-suited for workouts. If your sport involves wearing a helmet, there are also partial wigs designed to be worn beneath a bandana, allowing you to

place your helmet on top. In this setup, the hair is positioned on the sides, while the bandana helps absorb sweat, and the helmet serves as head protection.

I lost more hair than expected with cold caps. What should I do? If you’ve experienced more hair loss than expected while using a cold capping system, my suggestion is to refrain from cutting your hair until the treatment is completed. Accessing the extent of your remaining hair is key. Once you have a sense of how much hair you have left, you can explore your options. One option is a wig topper, which is a hairpiece that covers the top of your head and the length covers the sides of your head blending with your existing hair without being a full wig. Wig toppers are available in both human hair and synthetic styles. Human hair toppers can be custom colored to match your existing hair both can be cut to match your style. In addition to wig toppers, some women may find that a fabric headband can

suffice, depending on the areas where they’ve experienced the most hair loss. Others may opt for a combination of wig toppers and scarves or hats until their natural hair regrows to the length of the hair left after treatment. If you eventually decide to cut your hair shorter, that remains an option, but I recommend seeing how much of your hair is available before making a decision.

That is all for part two of this series. I hope you find this information useful. Please feel free to reach out to livelearnshine@ brightermagazine.org with comments or questions and stay tuned for the next issue where we will cover regrowth strategies.

Give your hair some time to fully recover – new growth is in progress

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Here We Glow! Written By: Jamie Hess Esthetician and Makeup Artist

Face Self Tanner

There is nothing like that first teasing lure of warmer temperatures to make you anticipate the excitement of spring when all the world’s beginning to grow…or is it glow? Fresh, dewy, tanned skin is an instant pick-me-up after the enclosed winter season, and these products will have you radiating from head to toe.

Body Self Tanner If St. Tropez is on the bottle, your self-tan will be flawless. For the most natural-looking, fool-proof tanner their Classic Bronzing Mousse is the best place to start (it has a cult following for a reason). *Tip - To prep the skin, be sure to exfoliate with exfoliating gloves or a sugar scrub and to moisturize any areas, like elbows, knees and feet, before you apply self-tanner. Also, skip the tanning mit and use medical gloves for an easier application.

Body Makeup The Westmore Beauty Body Coverage Perfector is a product that is so beautiful and versatile! It’s makeup for the body that blurs and conceals the skin while being waterproof and transfer-proof. Created by a 4th generation Hollywood makeup artist, this is a staple for red carpet events and is an instant pick-me-up when you want a sun-kissed look!

Body Glow Sunscreen with a glow, yes please! Coppertone’s Glow line has a range of illuminating, quick-drying sunscreens in sprays or lotions. Whether spending your day at the beach, the ballpark, or at an outdoor wedding, all offer broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection that leaves your skin smooth, silky and hydrated.



If the thought of applying self-tanner to your face makes you nervous, worry no more. Isle of Paradise’s Self-Tanning Drops are so incredibly easy to apply! Simply mix a few drops into your moisturizer and you will be left with an effortless, streak-free tan. For subtle color, use 2 to 4 drops and build up to 10 to 12 drops for a deeper color.

Bronzer Nars Laguna Bronzing Powder or Bronzing Cream will make it seem like you’ve just returned from a week in the tropics. With nine stunning shades of the bronzing powder or five luxurious shades of the bronzing cream, they will effortlessly enhance any skin tone. *Tip - The sun will always tan the high points of your face so if you’re unsure where the placement should be, remember the number 3. Using a fluffy brush draw a “3” down the sides of your face using these reference points - the forehead, especially closest to the hairline, the cheekbones and along the jawline.

Sunscreen This multitasking powerhouse of a product cannot be beat! Supergoop’s Glowscreen SPF 40 is a dewy, tinted sunscreen that primes and hydrates the skin. Packed full of Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, and Vitamin B5, these four shades can be worn on their own or under makeup. However you choose to use this product, it gives an instant glow-up! Dewy, hydrated, bronzed skin can all be obtained from the comfort of your own home because to keep skin healthy, sun safety is always of the utmost importance! Warmer weather, here we come…it’s time to glow baby, glow! *Disclaimer: If skin is compromised in any way, please speak with your medical provider before using any cosmetic or beauty products. And if you think any specific ingredients may be in question, please review them with your doctor first.

Spring into an Active Lifestyle Written By: Kristen Foster, PT, DPT

As spring approaches, you may find yourself in one of two mindsets when it comes to exercise. You may be motivated and looking forward to some nicer weather to head outside and be active, or perhaps you started the new year off hitting the gym hard and you now find your motivation fizzling. Either way, as we enter this new season, a key thing to focus on is consistency.

Start with small goals. Begin by exercising a few days a week or month. After you achieve that goal, set the next, more challenging one. We all know life happens and things come up; tell yourself you won’t take more than three days off in a row to stay on track. Even if on that third day you only do something for a few minutes, it is something that got your body moving. Don’t forget, every little bit counts.

There are many benefits to exercise; both during cancer treatment, and beyond. Benefits include improving energy levels, cardiovascular endurance, and increasing overall strength, balance and mobility. It can decrease stress, anxiety, and depression, and lift the “fog”. And it often improves your tolerance to cancer treatment and adverse effects. Exercise has also been shown to help reduce the risk of recurrence of certain cancers.

This spring, let the start of a new season rejuvenate you, whether you are just getting started with exercise or want to change up your current regime. Schedule something with a friend for motivation and accountability, try a new class, or reach out to a professional for guidance. This could be a personal trainer at the gym, or a cancer rehabilitation specialist who can help devise a program that is appropriate for where you are in your journey.

Just as there are various benefits to exercise, there are also many possibilities as to how it can look. It can be a class at a gym or studio, self-guided workouts from a video in your living room, walking a local trail, running, biking, swimming, the list goes on. The American Heart Association suggests 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week to maintain good health. ‘Moderate intensity’ is described as “something you feel you can maintain for a while and carry a conversation.” 150 minutes can seem daunting, but try to start small and remember that every little bit counts. If you just don’t have it in you to go for a 30-minute walk (either because of fatigue, the chaos of life, or your schedule), try 10 minutes, a few times per day. It all adds up, and before you know it you’re well on your way to reaching 150 minutes.

Remember that consistency is key to maintaining an adequate level of activity to feel strong, safe and equipped to take on life. Getting started is usually the hardest part, and by remaining consistent you avoid the yo-yo of starting and stopping, having to repeat that dreaded ‘day 1’ over and over. The more you stay consistent, the more you are building a habit to live a healthy lifestyle. Let this be your motivation this spring to exercise and stay active. Set yourself on the right track by forming a habitual, healthy lifestyle to help you thrive during treatment and long after.

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Pay it Forward: Totes of Love Written By: Dithyae Devesh Brighter Intern

Totes of Love Chemotherapy sessions can be exhausting and overwhelming. It’s not typically something women look forward to; it’s simply a means to achieve an outcome. So how does one pack for that? It’s probably not obvious, particularly if it’s for the first time. That’s where Totes of Love comes in. Cate Baker and Samantha Mosely, both freshman at The Hockaday School in Dallas, TX, decided they could create something to fill the gap while achieving their Girl Scout Silver award. Their newly developed program distributes totes bags filled with essentials to women in treatment for cancer.

What did their Girl Scouts process entail? Beginning years earlier, Cate and Samantha were involved in Northeast Texas Girl Scouts - Troop 2385 long before attending Hockaday. As



the sole remaining scouts in their troop, they were determined to forge ahead and complete their Silver Project, a notable, self-sustaining effort, which requires approval from Girl Scouts leadership. They started their project a year and a half ago, the summer before eighth grade, when they recognized the need for an essential “chemo bag” while watching friends and family members who required cancer treatment. Even though the girls switched schools during the project’s timeline, their momentum and passion for it remained strong. It’s that extra measure of love and care that makes the totes so special. Not only do they meet a physical need, but on an emotional level the girls are demonstrating to survivors that they are valued, seen, understood and cared for. These care packages help on multiple levels. Girl Scouts Silver Award

How did this project begin? In order to curate the perfect tote, Cate and Samantha went directly to survivors going through chemo, as well as Helen Bowles, the Founder and Publisher of Brighter. They asked many questions and learned what was most helpful during the chemo process. They started off with a basket containing a few things and then later upgraded to a tote after realizing it was so much more convenient for patients. Cate’s mother, a cancer survivor herself, shared with the teens that it can be overwhelming to receive the initial cancer diagnosis. With all of the information about treatments and procedures, she expressed “most people don’t think about how to care for themselves until they’re in that moment, and then it’s not really something you can research.”

What’s in the tote? Totes of Love is a portable care package containing the essentials to “help make cancer treatment just a little more bearable,” says Cate. The totes include: a soft, large blanket, satin pillowcase, slouchy beanie, Brighter magazine, 52 week Inspirational Cancer Journal, Peppermint Tea Bags, Saltine Crackers, Extra Soft Toothbrush, Unscented Lip Balm, Unscented Lotion, Motrin, Purell Wipes, Aquaphor Packets, Peppermint Candy, Ginger Chews, and Girl Scout Thin Mints. While there’s no backstory of how they came up with the name, both girls wanted to spread love through their totes and thus became Totes of Love, with graphic design by Cate.

Who have they reached? Cate and Samantha have decided to make Parkland Hospital in Dallas their target audience, as patient demographics typically reflect a greater financial need. Their main goal is to serve women who cannot afford these items and/or wouldn’t know about these essentials otherwise.

Recently, Samantha’s mom made a connection through her job to a woman in need. In addition to a cancer diagnosis, she has endured a very challenging life and is dependent on assistance for her treatment and care. She said she was overjoyed and felt so loved when she received a tote. That’s the exact response the two Girl Scouts are hoping for. Sure, they earned a scouting achievement, but it’s really a lasting impact they hope to make on the lives of women who need help, hope and a little bag of happiness. A few tote bags have been donated to Brighter readers in the DFW Metroplex. Please reach out to us if you could benefit.

The magazine for women affected by cancer


Brighte Book Recommendations from the Brighter Team

Good Boundaries and Goodbyes by Lisa Terkeurst In this book, Lisa helps identify unhealthy patterns in relationships and explains how to overcome the “frustrating cycle of ineffective boundary-setting with realistic scripts and practical strategies.” Terkeurst empowers her readers to set boundaries or say goodbye without guilt when relationships must change in order to “return to who you were created to be.” I loved her idea of holding small funerals for relationships that, for the time being, just can’t be what you’d hoped. Relationships can always change, but until they become healthy, they are worthy of mourning. - Helen Bowles Founder

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

This was one of the best books I’ve ever read! It’s not for the faint of heart at 657 pages, but I didn’t want it to end and found myself thinking about the characters for days after I finished the book. Verghese is a medical doctor and “became founding Director of The Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 2002.” (Wikipedia) The book touches on many aspects of the lack of humanity that is, unfortunately, too often found in medical care and makes a strong case for treating each patient with kindness and empathy. Every character in the book comes to life at the hands of Verghese and will be with you long after you finish the book.

I highly recommend this book. A great look into how women in the 1950’s and 1960’s had to fight to get anywhere. Whether it was being taken seriously as a person, co-worker or more than a housewife.

- Regina Parker Huntsville, Alabama 13 year Breast Cancer Survivor 12 year Ovarian Cancer Survivor

This is the story of Elizabeth Zott, a chemist. She is determined to never get married or have children. Her career and research in biochemistry is her focus. However, her life is not all roses. She is not taken seriously among her peers, seen as sleeping her way up, research stolen and passed off as her boss’s. Tragedies come and eventually, she’s relegated to what society sees as a “woman’s role” on a television show. Elizabeth is a powerful, strong woman and won’t allow anything to stand in her way. I loved this book because it reminds us not to take the lives we as women have right now, for granted. - Debbie Norris Ovarian Cancer Survivor Brighter Writer



r Reads

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

The Energy of Prayer by Thich Nhat Hanh

Author Daniel James Brown brings us the true story of a group of rag-tag boys whose unlikely tale of depression-era grit led them to win the gold medal in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. The story, though one of a happy ending for the rowing team, follows, for the most part, a boy named Joe Rantz, who had to not only overcome learning to be a competitive rower when he began college at Washington but also had to overcome horrific childhood trauma. Driven by love for his childhood sweetheart and what could only be sheer grit, the story of Rantz and his teammates reads like a well-penned love story combined with a heroic account of a boy who endured unbelievable circumstances to join a team who would buoy the hearts of all Americans. From the crumbs of poverty to a ticker tape parade, The Boys in the Boat is an inspiring work of non-fiction and will have your heart wrapped up in love for the unlikely little boy who becomes an American hero.

“The act of praying is not just an empty wish, because behind each prayer there is a practice of mindfulness and concentration.” (Thich Nhat Hanh, from The Energy of Prayer)

- Cara Price Brighter Writer

This little pocket sized book was perfect for me to read and really deepen my understanding of prayer. I have been trying to find something that would give me a guide in almost a simple way - this book helped me understand that better. This book can be used by people of all faiths and spiritual paths as he explains Prayer is not what we do, it is who we are and that we have to not only pray with our mouth and thoughts but with our body, speech, mind and daily life - to integrate it so that it is not separate. It helped me especially through the stories and examples he uses to show how prayer heals. He makes it easy to understand what you would want out of your spiritual practice or prayer no matter if you have just started or have been doing it for 20 years - there are five meditation exercises, Buddhist and Christian Parallels and examples of prayers and chants. - Anjanni Vasson Brighter Writer

Living in a DeathDenying Culture Written By: Meredith R. Mitstifer, Psy.D Licensed Clinical Psychologist Ovarian Cancer Survivor

Imagine my pause when asked to write about facing death while living with terminal cancer for a magazine called “BRIGHTER.” My pause, however, only parallels how our society transfers death, dying and constructs of mortality to the periphery of our lives. Like if we don’t talk about it, maybe it won’t exist? Unfortunately for some, when nothing more can be done to stop the progression of disease, it is difficult to avoid thoughts around dying. Personal and social meanings of terminal disease vary. Avoidance by friends and family can occur as the concept of death may be regarded as too taboo to discuss. While I could never imagine nor indicate how it must feel to be diagnosed with a terminal illness, I have witnessed the hardship and challenges my peers have had to endure. While every experience is



There is no right or wrong way to grieve, there is only your way. unique in their own right, I have observed a similar response from society due to their discomfort with death and their lack of awareness understandably with coping with a potential loss. Response patterns from family, friends and/or community can begin with a rally-like structure, over-utilizing and underscoring themes of positivity and hope, disregarding and/or ignoring what are indeed, facts. Another response frequently witnessed after a terminal diagnosis has been referred to as a kind of “social death” for the patient. Social death is when the patient begins to witness and/or observe a barrier that emerges between them and the rest of society. Bearing witness to these responses, it doesn’t surprise me how some individuals chose never to disclose the seriousness of their illness. One friend even shared how she purposefully took some time to enjoy her “existence” before her terminal cancer would become the only life focus for her and her family. Living with terminal disease has been described as a living-dying experience. Imagine fluctuating between hope and reality, denial and acceptance, control and no control, pain and comfort. Grief is complicated. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, there is only your way. It’s important to be aware and understand how coping potency varies among people, and typically – this is not something we have prepared or trained for. The capacity to maintain a sense of self-worth, exercise choices in the face of challenges, actively engage with the environment and sustain the will to live in the face of death clearly cannot be defined. I have been told many do not mourn their death, but rather the death of the life they had imagined. People often ask what they can say or do to support a loved one with a terminal illness. There is not a one-stop shop for the right answers. What I can suggest is to ask them directly and to reinforce you will be there. Allow them to write the narrative and offer to respect their wishes to the best of your ability. Some patients have shared their desire for normalcy as much as possible. Coffee, dinner, a movie or just someone to read to them can make all the difference. Also, in order to be fully present for a loved one, it would be best to find

outlets and/or supports to deal with your own grief, so the patient doesn’t have to take care of you. Within my advocacy work, terminally ill patients have shared what has brought them comfort through this process. Many convey that creating a folder with their final documents and wishes provides a sense of control or peace given one of the most common challenges reported was having “the talk.” Patients want to share their wishes, possibly a DNR, living will, etc. but reveal their families “not being ready” to discuss. Some write letters to their family and friends, including pictures to be mailed after their death, while others suggest mailing prior and offering the recipient an opportunity to respond. Purging any unnecessary items depending on one’s current health was a common theme, especially if they themselves were left with cleaning out a house after a loved one passed. This also provides an opportunity to simplify and live a bit more stress-free. If there are things a patient would like to leave or give to others, attaching a note or sharing the heirloom story as to why this item was chosen, can be very meaningful for the giver and receiver. Having the ability, support from others and time to make and share meaningful choices are what appeared to be most cherished among the terminally ill I have worked with. My one friend specifically chose to be present at her own celebration of life and raved about how nourishing it was for her soul. The opportunity to empower and reflectively listen to the dying share their life story, its meaning and purpose, is often considered a treasured gift. An article on terminal illness and living in a death-denying culture can not be fully encompassed in one edition, and Brighter would love to incorporate what you need most. What questions, concerns, wishes or thoughts resonate with you? Is there something specific you would like others to know or find helpful? What topics on grief, loss and or living with chronic/terminal illness would benefit you? Please send your comments to: livelearnshine@brightermagazine.org and we will be sure to share/reflect or discuss them in future issues.

The magazine for women affected by cancer


PAS SING TIM E Stuck in a waiting room, at home recovering or just need to exercise your brain for a bit? Try playing these games! Hint: all answers are related to content within this issue. Have fun and good luck!

Word Search




















Crossword Across

3) This competitive race consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 26.2-mile run and a 112-mile bike ride. 4) This medical practitioner specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders. 6) A fast-paced sport that has many similarities to tennis, badminton and table tennis. 8) You should open this for 10 minutes a day.


1) This can cause muscle atrophy and changes to sensation/responsiveness of the swallow. 2) Haikus, poems and letters are examples of this hobby. 5) A large edible silver-colored fish with pink flesh. 7) A covering of natural or synthetic hair for the head.


TRIVIA! What treatment option was first tried in metastatic melanoma patients with great success? A) Immunotherapy B) Chemotherapy C) Surgery D) Radiation Therapy How long should you let your sunscreen set before putting on a wig or scarf? A) 5 Minutes B) 12 Minutes C) 20 Minutes D) You don’t need to wait It is estimated that ____% of individuals diagnosed with cancer in the mouth or throat will develop swallowing issues at some point during their treatment. A) 20% B) 55% C) 90% D) 100% The AHA suggests you exercise 150 minutes per week to maintain good health. Which AHA suggested this? A) The American Hospital Association B) The American Heart Association C) The American Health Associates D) The American Healthcare Association



Which 18th-century poet wrote “An Essay on Man”? A) Phillis Wheatley B) Robert Burns C) William Blake D) Alexander Pope






What is Cabana Life’s clothing UV protection rating? A) 35+ B) 50+ C) 75+ D) 100 The number one cause of Melanoma is…. A) Exposure to UV light B) Alcohol and Tobacco C) Exposure to Chemicals D) Hereditary Hair typically grows _______ per month. A) 1/4 inch B) 1/2 inch C) 3/4 inch D) 1 inch

Answers for activities on page 7

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