Oncology Skin Care: Jennifer K

When Lipgloss + Aftershave learned of ASCP's Oncology Skin Care Month, they were eager to be a part in this amazing, month-long event. With the help of Hale & Hush, one of the most respected skin care lines in the industry (with nine of their products being oncology approved), they have documented the story and experience of two women undergoing treatment who were supplied with skin care products from Hale & Hush. Here is the one of their stories.

Meet Jennifer K.

“You never know who needs to hear our story.”

I’ve always been a yes person, and when opportunities present themselves to me, I jump in. Enjoying dinner with some friends, Joanna pulled me aside and told me about a friend’s blog looking for a cancer patient to try gentle skin care products and write about the experience. Not thinking too much about it, I automatically said yes. It made me smile as the woman I was to contact spelled her name just as I did in high school.

Coincidentally, Dee Mason, who specializes in oncology esthetics, is a longtime friend of mine. I taught her son years ago, and we were both diagnosed with breast cancer almost to the day. We’ve both been following each other’s journeys, so how perfect was this?! By profession, I am a middle school english teacher, so how difficult could a blog be for me to complete?

Although I have been extremely positive throughout my battle with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, I had no idea what I was in store for. My cancer began in my right breast and lymph nodes and spread to my skull, spine, scapula, hips, pelvis, lungs, and several other places.

I also am a trained yoga and meditation teacher. I know that I am not my body. This mentality has helped me with my positive outlook.

                                                                                             

As I began to write, I realized just how much I was impacted by this disease. Last summer, I had radiation treatment to my skull, and getting words from my head to paper suddenly became a problem for me. I truly struggled with this.

I felt like I was a student giving excuses to Jenni about why my “homework” wasn’t done. Anxiety and stress overwhelmed me, yet Jenni was sweet and patient. It was then, that I did some major reflection about why I was stuck.

It hit me. This was my year milestone for the diagnosis. In one short year, I lost my ability to work, to practice the postures of yoga, forced to move from the house that I loved, my car died, my long red hair fell out—only to grow back completely white and wiry—my bank account dwindled, and my diet had to change drastically—no sugar, hormones, or dairy. Basically, everything I loved was taken from me … except for an army of friends and family to support me.

In order to feel like I was doing something proactive to help fight the cancer besides my radiation and chemotherapy treatments, I really looked at food as medicine and began to study labels before putting anything into my body.

To experience the Hale & Hush line was perfect and I was so grateful for this opportunity. Our skin is our largest organ, so why wouldn’t I want to use gentle and moisturizing products to help?

Week 1 + 2

Taking the pictures of myself—and studying myself without makeup—after really soaking in the reality of how much my life has changed in the last year was extremely shocking to me.

There are very few photos exist without makeup. The photo to the left is with a wig and hat right after Dee gave me the facial.

My experience with Hale & Hush is EXTREMELY pleasant. I’ve already noticed a positive difference in this short amount of time.

Physically, I just really didn’t realize just how much this disease affected me in one short year. This is just another step in the process of my journey.

Unfortunately, a photo came up on my timeline from Facebook that stopped me in my tracks.

Very few pictures exist of me without makeup. Here I was, newly diagnosed surrounded by some of my yoga family (above). At first it was just the long red hair that stared me in the face. Then, I kept looking … I had absolutely no idea how much the treatment changed my physical appearance and how dry and damaged my skin now was—not to mention the loss of eyelashes and eyebrows.

More than ever, I was grateful for having the opportunity to work with the Hale & Hush line. In the past, I didn’t seem to need a skin care regime. Now, I couldn’t get enough moisture!

The fact that this opportunity presented itself to me, that Dee and I already had a connection and were diagnosed at almost the exact same time, and that I was already working through what the new “normal” is, tells me that this was meant to be.

Stay Tuned for Part II of Jennifer's story

Article provided by Lipgloss + Aftershave
Learn more about Treating The Most Vulnerable Skin: True Testaments About Oncology Skincare

LEARN MORE ABOUT ASCP'S ONCOLOGY SKIN CARE MONTH

Check out our blog here to learn more about this amazing event.