Chemo + Hysterectomy = Style Makeover?

Linda Jennings was born and raised in Austin, TX.  At the age of 64, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer and her doctor suggested a radical hysterectomy along with cancer treatment.  Little did she know how it would impact her image. Here is her story.

Linda before surgery/chemo (left) and best friend Cynthia

Linda before surgery/chemo (left) and BFF Cynthia

 

I was diagnosed early November 2012.  Had a complete hysterectomy December 13th.. If you have the DaVinci [laparoscopic surgery]  it isn’t as invasive, and you are only in the hospital overnight.  Unfortunately they weren’t able to do this on me because of some scar tissue from a surgery the year before.  I was in the hospital four days. Before I went to the hospital, I bought a few books.  Fluffy reads so if I fell asleep while reading I didn’t have to go back to catch up.

 

I always think I have to tough it out and just go on.  This time I actually took my doctor’s advice.  “Don’t be a hero.”  I’m not a big one for pain medication, etc.  This time if I needed it I took it. My son repositioned the couch so I could lay and watch TV without having to twist and turn.  Comfy pillows and blankies.  A table close by with water, pain pills and books and the remote!  (LOL)

Look through your clothes to make sure you have comfy loose-fitting things to wear.  If you have the “bikini” incision like I did, you don’t want to wear any low cut panties that might irritate your incision.  Even with the DaVinci you don’t want anything tight for a few days.

Linda's new style, with BFF Cynthia

Linda’s new style, with BFF Cynthia

 

My biggest style change is my hair.  I always wanted to cut my hair  short but never had the nerve.  Now, I LOVE my “Chemo Cut” 🙂  I won’t let it grow out too long.  Very easy and cute. And I love the natural color!

 

[Side note: Linda’s daughter cut off over TWO FEET of hair in support of Linda shaving her head. Linda bought and sported a lot of fun hats during her post-op cancer treatments. They still look chic!] 

Linda, Sage (grand daughter), Heather (daughter)

Linda, Sage (granddaughter), Heather (daughter)

 

 

Today I feel great, and I learned that I don’t have to be “superwoman.”

I realized it is okay to take the time to let myself heal properly.  I think I learned that I am tougher than even I thought.  I realized “Okay, this is what it is, and I’ll get thru it.”

For those who have to go through chemo and radiation like I did – just know it will pass.  I was very fortunate that I never got sick from my chemo.  But I DID take my anti-nausea medication the day before and took it BEFORE I had a chance to get sick.  I got very tired and just slept thru it.  Bad bone, muscle pain but pain pills and sleep took care of that.  And it was something I was told would probably happen.  Had no issue with the radiation.

My biggest advice is to have a doctor you trust and can build a relationship with.  I adore mine.  On my first visit he told me the odds the cancer returning and the odds of it ending up terminal. (Very small.)  But he said, “That doesn’t happen on my watch.”  He is very funny, and I have NEVER had a doctor that took their time like he does.

The other advice is crucial: Have someone that you can count on for anything anytime.  My friend Cynthia was that person.  She took me to every single doctor’s appointment and sat with me through every chemo and radiation treatment.  When we walked in the office they said “Oh, Lordy, here they come” because we were always laughing and cutting up.

Oh, and one last very important thing… a positive attitude.  I can’t imagine that those with the “gloom and doom” attitude recover as quickly and well as I did.  I know that is easier said than done and may be just because that’s the way I am.

If you have someone who has to go thru this, always be positive, if the patient wants to talk about it listen.  Don’t make them feel they are a burden because you have to take them to the doctor, chemo, etc.  If you can’t do that, don’t volunteer.  Don’t tell “horror” stories of what happened to your hairdressers, cousins or brother-in-law’s mother.

Check out the Hysterectomy Style Kit – Undergarments & Sleepwear for tips and links to stylish options while you recover.

A big “thank you” to Linda for sharing her story.  Please post your thoughts on the topic or kind words for Linda in the comments below.

Have you recently had surgery and are ready for a fresh style to kick off 2014?  Call me.  Together we can create a Signature Style that says who you are and where you’re going 🙂

 

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Thea Wood
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