I’m smiling from ear to ear as I write this column. It’s also very surreal to me.
I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer seven years ago. My diagnosis will be forever etched in my memory. But I promised myself that I would never allow breast cancer to steal my dignity or make me feel like less of a woman. Truth be told, like many women who are treated for breast cancer, I was convinced I would never look or feel sexy again.
My mission is to ensure that nobody feels defeated. To make sure that my “little sisters,” as I like to call them, feel like the same beautiful women that they were before being diagnosed. Easier said than done, right?
Here’s my background: I was a fashion and beauty publicist, running around New York City attending glamorous events, photo shoots, fashion shows and even hopping on a plane once in a while to another country to do the same. My life was not a far cry from what you’d see in a “Sex and the City” episode or in the popular film “The Devil Wears Prada.”
Then came my breast cancer diagnosis. Once I learned about my course of treatment, I did what any fashionista would do—I jumped online and Googled numerous terms like:
- “Post-mastectomy bras”
- “How to tie a head wrap”
- “Post-chemotherapy eyelash solutions”
- “What kind of deodorant to wear upon breast cancer diagnosis”
- “Hair loss and regrowth due to chemotherapy”
And so on. None of these items were all in one place. But worst of all, many of the products that I did find looked very surgical. It was a far cry from a Carrie Bradshaw moment, that’s for sure.
So I created a list of products and experts who not only offered solutions to my fashion- and beauty-related issues, but also sophisticated—dare I even say sexy—items that resonated with the pre-breast cancer me. Soon, my friends and family asked me for “the list” because someone else near and dear to them was diagnosed with breast cancer.
One day, while I was in the thick of my chemotherapy treatment, a close friend of mine named Tina (she was my arms and legs throughout my treatment) said to me, “You ought to start a blog, Melissa, so everyone can have access to these resources.” I looked at her and said, “Tina, I can’t even make dinner. I’m going to start a blog?!”
And, of course, I did.
Sometimes, when we’re in the middle of a difficult chapter, the best way to forge ahead is to help others who are going through a similar experience. Scouring the internet for breast cancer related products, experts, tips and tricks was a great distraction for me. In fact, it helped me to heal. But nothing makes me happier than helping my little sisters.
Today, I’m a breast cancer thriver and continue to keep my eyes wide open for great products. I’ve made it my duty to review and share the best of the best with all of you. When I met Cancer Wellness editor-in-chief Caylei Vogelzang, let’s just say that I knew that she—just like her magazine—was one of my great finds. Finally, a magazine that offers up really useful yet stylish content including fashion, beauty, nutrition and wellness all with the cancer patient, thriver and caregivers in mind.
I’m beyond honored to join the Cancer Wellness family with my “Everyday Runway” column that you’ll find here on the third Monday of every month. I’ll be sharing all of my favorite things with you and can’t wait to get to know you and see how I can help you look and feel fabulous throughout your cancer treatment and beyond.
With so much love,
Melissa Berry aka Cancer Fashionista