Moving On After Stage 2B Breast Cancer
Posted by Kim Barbati on Mar 2nd 2021
What was your cancer diagnosis?
12 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I ended up having a lateral mastectomy. I needed radiation and then I used My Girls Skin Care cream during that experience. The cream was new at the time and Mass General Hospital where I underwent treatment in Boston, thankfully had samples. The nurses provided a list of products that I could choose from and none of those were helpful, except the My Girls cream. For example, one of the other products was more of a jelly than a cream, so it stuck to my clothing - not good for a woman working in sales, let alone undergoing cancer treatments.
What side effects did you experience as a result of radiation therapy?
The night before the treatment, you are supposed to moisturize, and put nothing on your skin the day of. The radiation was burning my skin. In fact, I experienced every side effect known to mankind at the time. The My Girls Cream comes in a big jar and is whipped and it’s cool. It spreads and absorbs easily so it doesn’t get on your clothes. It doesn’t smell. It has natural ingredients. I recommend to anyone who is going through radiation and I still use it as a daily moisturizer on my face. A must-have skincare product for my skin in the morning.
Words of advice for others undergoing cancer treatments and how to endure a cancer diagnosis:
I didn’t want to be treated differently so I shared a lot about my experience so people wouldn’t feel awkward about talking to me. Be yourself so people realize you are still you. I would email people updates about what was happening, but incorporate a funny story so it wasn’t always ‘clinical’. For example, my daughter pulled my wig off while we were at Friendly’s restaurant here in Boston. I tried to put it back on but it was crooked. I went to Old Navy to walk around, but didn’t realize that my husband didn’t have his credit card back at the restaurant and couldn’t pay. So my family was trapped at Friendly’s while I walked off my feelings!
I hate accepting help from people, but I needed it and was grateful for the things I got. Help with kids, food, etc. Don’t turn away help.
You can feel ugly while going through treatment so I got clothes to hide my chest; ruffles, femine gathered tops to disguise any breast assymmetry, especially during the reconstruction process. I got pretty scarves and wore makeup and earrings - always. I embraced it and tried to make it into a “look”. Friends even commented that I looked cute with my new 'Betty Boop' style.
How have you moved on after your breast cancer diagnosis?
"Now that I am 12 years out of treatment, I am thankful for my life and a renewed outlook on living to the fullest. In turn, I try to help people who are going through treatment whenever I can." Jen, Boston, MA - Stage 2B Breast Cancer