STORIES OF HELP AND HOPE
Admiring what a beautiful September day it was, I paused, a little nervous about my first session, but mostly thinking of all the courageous women who had walked through this door before me. Healthy, happy, and blessed with everything in my life, I wanted to reach out and help others. I’d just become a volunteer for “Look Good Feel Better”–a program that helps women undergoing cancer treatments manage appearance–related changes. When I finished the session, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I had really done something with purpose. Little did I know that I’d officially join this sisterhood.
December 20–just five days before Christmas–the test results finally came, confirming that I had breast cancer. I continued preparation for the holidays. Nothing would prevent my seven–year–old twin boys, my husband, and me from having a wonderful Christmas with our family. All through the holidays, I couldn’t help wondering if these would be the last holiday memories Matt, Kyle, Dave and I shared.
Support from my family and friends got me through two lumpectomies and 7 week radiation treatment. Before my first radiation session, my oncology nurse provided skin care instructions to me, to help manage the radiation side effects. I immediately went to the store and purchased aloe vera, cornstarch, a gentle soap, and a soft washcloth–tools that would help me in my healing process.
The skincare products I was instructed to use were a great substitution for the products I could no longer use. However, I realized just how inconvenient they were on 2 separate occasions when I found myself in the ladies’ room at a shopping center, trying to relieve my irritated skin. Applying cornstarch from a plastic baggie was a disastrous mess,and because of the original packaging of the aloe the only place I had to wipe my hands was the stall’s toilet paper.
I could hardly believe this is how I had to care for myself!
Images of the cancer center where I had first been a volunteer and subsequently a patient filled my mind. All of those wonderful women I had met and all the others who had ever battled breast cancer had experienced these same challenges. Renewing You® was born!
I have been cancer–free for 9 years. But my journey isn’t over. Renewing You® has already given me the opportunity to teach my sons the importance of making something positive from obstacles life presents and that helping others presents the greatest joy. My joy is in the fact that Renewing You® will continue to help ease the journey of other women who come after me. I have put my heart into searching out the finest ingredients and most convenient packaging to help women continue caring for themselves with grace and dignity.
Founder of Renewing You® Gift Bag