Blurred image of a city street scene and people walking.

I must confess this story has been difficult to write. I have walked through life, up to this point, as a fairly confident human being. Cancer has changed that for me. Here is my truth: I hate how cancer has affected my self-worth. I dislike worrying about whether it could come back. I dislike how it has changed my body. I am worried about the constant low level pain I am experiencing. Most of all, I am unhappy that I have such a negative take on who and what I am right now.

Having written all that, I am not wallowing in this, though I know it might appear otherwise. I’m just being brutally honest. I don’t want anyone in my life telling me, “But you look beautiful” or “You are just crying out for attention” or “There are other more pressing problems in this world.” I know, I’m not, and no freaking kidding.

Right now, for me, there is a real disconnect between my self-worth (which like everyone’s, should ideally be high) and how horrible I feel emotionally and physically. I am struggling with how I feel about myself right now. I’m not in a healthy place. I do expect my self-worth will bounce right back. I have every expectation this will happen. But it will take time. Time and patience. I utterly comprehend this intellectually. However, I am someone who lives in the moment. I can’t live in the past, so I should try not to dwell on it, only learn from it. I can’t live in the future because I will miss today’s moments. I’m not luxuriating in my situation right now, but I am trying my hardest to get through it — and I can’t get through something if I don’t acknowledge it.

In the meantime, I will be seeing a psychologist to help me through this. I need to let it all go, but I can’t do this alone. It’s hard for me to talk about this to friends and family because I fear the dreaded eye roll. It is hard to verbalize what I am going through without worrying about sounding needy or whiny. But it is much easier to write about it. I can imagine everyone being supportive and helpful as they read my story.

A version of this post originally appeared on Capable Fitness.

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The Mighty, in partnership with Fuck Cancer, is asking the following: What was one thing you thought immediately after your diagnosis that you completely changed your mind about? Find out how to email us a story submission here.

Image via Thinkstock Images

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When I was young, my mom worked at the Kmart salon, making a living giving perms to the elderly while they were shopping. I would go to work with her, watching her flawless beauty as she mingled with clients. She was elegant then, with long hair that reached the bottom of her shoulder blades in waves like the ocean cascading against the sand.

Danielle Dayney's mother

Her hair, dark and lovely, was unusually long. On warm days, she would pull it back in a loose braid at the nape of her olive-colored neck, keeping her bangs feathered and full of Aqua Net, a style she couldn’t quite let go of. In the evenings, she would drag me, by the hand, over to the couch so I could brush her long locks as she watched television. I would fill it with colorful barrettes, pretending I was the stylist and she was my client. Of course, I wanted to be just like her.

One summer day, her Irish temper ran to a boil and she impulsively chopped every bit of it off. We both stood in the kitchen, a mane at our feet, and cried, mourning the change.

Eventually, and for reasons unbeknownst to me, she left that job at Kmart and started styling hair in our kitchen. My mom would wash her clients’ hair in the same porcelain sink that she cleaned our Tupperware, never once dropping the Virginia Slim hanging from her burgundy lips. Gold bracelets rattled as she scrubbed then rinsed the suds with the faucet. I watched her long fingers, painted brightly, as she permed, trimmed and shaved, always in awe of her artistic flare.

After many more years, one more child and a nursing degree, my mom eventually stopped doing hair. Though she loved hairdressing, she thought that nursing and helping people was her true calling. And it was. Her kind-hearted, selfless nature made her the perfect kind of nurse. 

Unfortunately, not long after she started nursing, she also found out she had cancer. By the time the doctor spotted it in her routine colonoscopy, it had already metastasized and overtaken her body, spreading from her colon to her liver and her lymph nodes. Though she was against it, she started aggressive chemotherapy to salvage what she could of her body. My mom was devastated because she could no longer practice nursing.

In the end, the chemotherapy only delayed the inevitable.

Four years later, on the day that she died, the cancer and poison of her drugs forced everything about her, including her hair, to change drastically. It was no longer thick and flowing, but instead brittle and matted to her ashen skin. Her eyes were closed tight as she slept away the pain with a morphine drip. I used her brush to gently untangle her thinning brown tufts and move them away from her eyes, though I don’t know if she could feel my presence. I wanted so much to remember how it was to be on our couch as a child, filling her waves with colors of the rainbow, but the papery, unnatural feel of her hair was forbidding me. Still, I let my fingers linger there, wishing for a different outcome.

Despite my mom being gone more than four years, I think of her often. When I think of her, it’s sometimes as the hairdresser, or sometimes as the nurse, but always as the most beautiful woman — selfless, loving and easy to get along with.

And today, more than ever, I want to be just like her.

Follow this journey on Danielle Dayney: Life in Details.

The Mighty, in partnership with Fuck Cancer, is asking the following: What’s the best advice you’ve gotten or a mantra that spoke to you following your diagnosis?  Find out how to email us a story submission here.


Suzanne Dore was diagnosed with advanced stage colon cancer at the age of 36, and after chemotherapy, radiotherapy and an abdominoperineal resection surgery, she now wears a colostomy bag. After the operation, Dore, 42, realized she had to alter her closet to accommodate her bag. Now, she’s sharing what she’s learned over the years on her new fashion blog, “Gladrags and Bags.”

“My blog isn’t going to appeal to those who prioritize comfort, there’s plenty of sites for comfy colostomy clothes, and their offerings scare the cr*p out of me (if you’ll pardon the pun),” Dore wrote on the intro page of her website.

It isn’t just about looks. “Wearing tight clothing can often cause the bag to leak, as it disrupts the flow into the bag, which is extremely embarrassing as it stinks,” she said, speaking to press agency Hotspot Media. “But I refuse to allow myself to be restricted to wearing baggy clothes, simply because I have to wear a colostomy bag.”

Dore offers tips on specific styles and shares how to make life with her bag more comfortable. “I don’t claim to be the next Gok Wan, but I just hope my advice can help some people,” she told Hotspot Media.

Here are a few excerpts from her blog:

Suzanne Dore
Image courtesy of Hotspot Media

“I’m not totally 100% body confident (who is?!) and I always strive to look the best that I can. Under this dress I wore a huge pair of Spanx that I cut a hole in for my bag to poke through, similarly to the holes I cut in tights, I still feel I get the desired effect of holding in all of the bulges without the absolute that the bag would leak inside a pair of Spanx.”

Suzanne Dore
Image courtesy of Hotspot Media

“I inadvertently ended up with this top in the dressing room purely for nostalgic reasons, I bought this exact top from Top Shop 25 years ago when I was working as a Saturday girl there. The fact that it was from the TALL section turned out to be serendipitous, the extra length in the body means my boobs and more importantly my bag has the space required for P/R (poo room).”

Woman in pink peplum dress
Image courtesy of Hotspot Media

The Peplum has the benefit of cinching in at the waist to enhance my figure (which at best I would describe as a lumpy hour glass) and the frill becomes a modesty curtain. It really did give me an extra confidence boost, and I had a fantastic night, most of that confidence was down to the bag being absolutely hidden away.”

Woman with ostomy bag in bikini
Image courtesy of Hotspot Media

“Here’s little trick I developed on the beach; since having my stoma front sleeping or front laying is a no no (which is a pain when you need to tan your back half) so on the beach before I lay my towel down I measure where I will be laying, then dig I a little hole in the sand that will line up with my bag, then lay the towel on top and press it into the dip a little, hey presto front bathing with a free flowing stoma and no risk of leaks!”

“Six months after my operation, we went on a family holiday to Cuba where I braved a 10-hour flight,” Dore told Hotspot Media. “I wore a bikini and I felt so confident. Sometimes people give me a passing glance when I wear a bikini but I keep a smile on my face. I’m not ashamed of my bag, I look at it as giving me life – the cancer could have killed me so wearing this is a small price to pay.”

“Dressing with an ostomy can be a challenge for both males and females, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to find out that women struggle with this predicament more often than not,” Keagan Lynggard, who serves on the Management Board of Directors for the United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA), told The Mighty. “I struggled for a while with finding clothes that I felt confident and comfortable in without completely abandoning my sense of fashion. Having a blog that not only provides tips of what to wear, but also where to buy it, is something that will be an excellent resource for many ostomates.”

Bonus: A Men’s Guide to Dressing With an Ostomy

The Mighty, in partnership with Fuck Cancer, is asking the following: Write a letter to yourself in regards to a cancer diagnosis. What would you say or wish someone had told you? Find out how to email us a story submission here.

h/t Daily Mail

 


I’ve lived through grief for the last four and a half years. In 2010, Anne, my wife of 20 years, was diagnosed with late-stage colon/appendiceal cancer. She survived for two years, and our family has been mourning her loss and trying to heal ever since. At times, I’ve found the Internet is the perfect place to share, especially around important days, anniversaries or holidays.

It’s Anne’s birthday today, and she’s seriously on my mind. I want to wish her a happy birthday with a note like the one she gave me during our first year married, which I carried in my wallet until it disintegrated.

Dear Anne,

I’m in New York on your birthday. On my birthday in 1990, we came to New York for our first date. That day is a treasure and foreshadowing of the sublime lives yet to be lived. We took a long train ride in the morning, and we never stopped exploring the world; we went to the New York public library for you to do some research, and we never stopped reading or learning; we went to FAO Schwartz and later we had four amazing kids and a house full of toys; we went  out for Thai food and never stopped loving/eating Asian food; we went to the LDS visitor center (which is now a temple ) and never stopped serving; we went to the New York City Ballet and never stopped seeking out events or adventures; and we had a romantic train ride home and never stopped loving each other. Even though it was a very long day, I wish it never ended and likewise, I wish our lives on earth could have continued indefinitely. Hopefully, the next life is as good… I don’t even need better.

Love, Tom

I feel I need a disclaimer. I’m healing, doing much better, moving on, although to some this article may convey the opposite. This is mostly a pleasant memory of one day. The other 8000 of our days together aren’t etched in as strongly. (Except our days travelling).

If you read this far, thanks for reading. Grief is personal, and we all go through it differently. It’s nice once in a while, to share what I am feeling and how I’m healing. And I recognize this note just put some serious pressure on any future first dates I go on.

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A photo from our first date.

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A cheeky new Nestlé Fitness ad campaign is using a strategically placed hidden camera to raise awareness about breast cancer.

In the video below, a cleavage camera mounted in a woman’s hot pink bra captures all the times throughout the day strangers checked out her breasts.

Your breasts are checked out every day,” the ad reads. “So when was the last time you checked your own?”

Nestlé is encouraging women to better detect breast cancer when it’s in its early stages. All women should familiarize themselves with both the appearance and feel of their breasts so they can report any changes promptly to their physician, according to Cancer.org.

So ladies, first check out the video below, and then, go check yourself out:

See some behind the scenes footage from the cleavage cam here, and visit #CheckYourSelfie to participate in Nestlé Fitness‘s campaign. 

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Annie lost her twin brother, Jack, to cancer a few years ago. Now, the 11-year-old is determined to raise awareness and funds to combat the disease that took her sibling from her.

Here to help Annie with her laudable goal is Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. As part of his web series, #ItsAaron, Rodgers is showing up to surprise and help people all over Wisconsin who have done important work with non-profit organizations.

Most recently, Rodgers surprised Annie (below), the founder of the organization Gold in September, and spent some time traveling her neighborhood with her to help raise awareness during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

If Jack was here right now, what do you think he’d want to say?” Rodgers asks in the video below.

“I think he would say ‘you just got to believe in Gold in September and everybody should just be happy in what they have,” Annie replies, “and ‘take action and do something.’”

Witness their touching interaction in the video below:

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