Britta’s Book at a Glance: Chapter 1, Cancer Changes You
If there’s one thing that’s true for everyone who’s been touched by cancer, it’s this: It changes you. No matter who you are, what kind of cancer you have, or how it all turns out, you will be changed by the experience, permanently.
The good news is that how you change is completely up to you.
This is such a fundamental part of the cancer experience that I devoted the first chapter of my book, When Cancer Hits, to this topic. I got some great thoughts from other cancer survivors out there, including Donald Wilhelm, who said, “You’re never going to be the same person you were before. But you can choose who you are, today. And you can choose who you will become, tomorrow.”
Who is This “New” Person in the Mirror?
One of the things cancer does is change your appearance. You may lose your hair, end up with extremely dry skin, gain or lose weight, experience cracked and broken nails, and get dark circles under your eyes. You may look in the mirror and not even recognize that person.
In Chapter 1, I explain that all this is very natural and normal. We all go through it. In fact, in today’s visual society, cancer’s effects on our appearance can be extremely traumatic. I give you an “Appearance Meter Quiz” to help you figure out what your appearance really means to you, and then give you ways to cope with the changes.
What Cancer Treatments Do to the Body
Though I go into more detail in later chapters, here I give you a general introduction about what cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery can do to your body, so you can better understand all the changes you may go through. Then I show you how you can help maintain control of your appearance—even though right now you may feel completely out of control!
Who Am I Now?
All these changes can cause a true identity crisis in many people. After all, if you look different in the mirror, you feel different in your body, and your whole life is different than it used to be, than who are you now? I guide you through some interactive exercises that help you bring yourself back…to yourself.
What is Your Personal Chemical Exposure?
Realizing that everything is changing, I ask you to check your current routine and personal care products to evaluate your daily chemical exposure. Later in the book I help you make some changes that will be better for your fragile skin and body, but in this first chapter I help you take stock of what your current routine may be doing to your health.
I hope, after reading Chapter 1, that you feel a new sense of empowerment. Cancer can make you feel like a fish out of water—like you just don’t have any control anymore over your life. Chapter 1 acknowledges that yes, things have changed, but you still have control over how you are going to handle it!
(When Cancer Hits is available now—click here.)
Were you overwhelmed by the changes cancer brought to your life? Please share your story.