The PINK Warrior: from LGFB Volunteer to Participant – Lana Marie

My name is Lana Marie. I'm a PINK Warrior...a Breast Cancer Survivor! 

Last year, I found 2 lumps in my right breast. I had some mammograms and then a biopsy, which came back positive for cancer. My mastectomy surgery was booked quickly, and I felt like I was in a nightmare spiraling. I was diagnosed with Stage 2B with 82% survival rate. My life was about to change dramatically, and I had to quickly accept the “New Me.” I just didn’t know who I would become, but I was able to draw strength to continue from my late mother, Marie, who had her PINK Warrior journey many years before me. No one knows what kind of cancer journey they will be taking until it happens. 

My treatments consisted of a right mastectomy surgery, 5 months of chemotherapy, followed by 1-month radiation and now a cancer pill/medication daily for the next 10 years, plus infusion treatments every 6 months and weekly physio treatments for my lymphedema and mastectomy area.   

My body and skin have healed, and with the guidance of the Look Good Feel Better Program (LGFB), I was able to nurture myself and my self-esteem.  

I've been on both sides of the Look Good Feel Better program. I was a LGFB volunteer for 2 1/2 years when I lived in Barrie. I was the volunteer assisting women living with cancer about their skin and how to wear scarves/hats, and now I was the one at the table learning as a cancer participant. 

I was so blessed and very grateful to have been a LGFB volunteer and now to be able to be a LGFB participant this past January 2020, when I was receiving radiation treatments at RVH in Barrie. The LGFB volunteers welcomed us cancer participants and made us feel at ease.  They were so inviting and knowledgeable about all the products that cancer patients should and shouldn't use during and after treatments.  

It was so hard to look at myself in the mirror, as I felt all my beauty had been stripped from my being. My eyelashes and eyebrows had disappeared along with my hair. I felt ugly.  

My LGFB volunteer, Christine, was very helpful in guiding me with the right products for my skin tone.  I did have a bit of rosacea from the chemo treatments. The cleansing of my skin was very important as my face is my canvas. Christine then assisted me in applying cleanser, sunscreen, primer, concealer, foundation and blush. She instructed me on the technique in texturing my eyebrows and eyelashes to make it look like I actually had some of both. Add the lipstick, fluff my wig and I was set to continue on my journey!  

I was very happy to be the model for 1/2 hour before the 2-hour class ended; we were shown how to wear hats and taught how to tie scarves in different ways to give us different looks.
My PINK Warrior journey has not been easy, but I have learned so much about myself and life. I fought so hard to thrive and survive. I've also had my dark moments, where I was ready to give up completely and stop all treatments. I'd have my private moments with the crying/grieving for me but then I'd pull myself together and venture back out into the world with a big smile on my face. 

I have conquered so much and now I am so looking forward to living my life, being with my family and friends, camping, and travelling. Everyone has loved and supported me somehow through my PINK Warrior journey, and in doing so, have actually helped me become the PINK Warrior I am today! 

My favourite colour is pink.  

To be a Look Good Feel Better volunteer, you must have a cosmetic background, which I did. I've used Mary Kay products for over 25 years and I'm a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant. 

During my chemo treatments, I was told that my skin would get really dry from the chemicals that would be injected into my body to rid me of any remaining cancer cells. I made sure that I used my TimeWise Repair(R) 3D Cleansing Set, Vitamin C Serum, Extra Emollient Cream. All these products helped me to keep my skin from getting dried out and damaged. 

When I was going through radiation, I used the cream that the radiologist recommended because of the radiation. Once I finished each session, I would apply my Vitamin C Serum to help moisturize that area.  When radiation treatments were over, I immediately felt the burning and redness on my skin, as if I'd been severely sunburned. I quickly lathered on my Vitamin C Serum and within a few hours the burning/itchiness went away. My skin went black and peeled off. I am still using and will continue to use the Vitamin C Serum daily. 

So now, 8 months after treatments finished, my hair is coming in very thick and naturally curly. I'm loving my short hair and trying to figure out hairstyles. My eyelashes and eyebrows are also coming in thick and the length is longer. This is the NEW ME! 

Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support to keep me going – I have so much life to live and many more memories to make! 
Lana Marie