Thoughts from the Heart

     Just three months after I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 1994 I was a model in a wonderful event for breast cancer awareness.  The organization is one I have written about before in my blogs called Day of Caring.  The event still is held annually here in Denver and is coming up the first weekend of May.  CURE Magazine is now the umbrella over Day of Caring so the breast cancer conference is called CURE Day of Caring.
     It was one of the wonderful volunteers from Day of Caring who first introduced me to Y-me National Breast Cancer Organization.  She wanted me to become a peer counselor for their 24-hour National Breast Cancer Hotline in addition to the Partner Match Program.   Although I did neither due to time constraints I stayed in contact with her and the organization until a couple of years ago when the Denver affiliate was closed down.  The headquarters in Chicago was still fully functional, but it really felt like I had lost a good friend.
     What a great surprise when, about six months ago, I was flipping through the Y-me newsletter and discovered there was a Denver affiliate again that was going “‘great guns “!  I was immediately in contact with the area director who suggested I be a part of the training to become a certified Y-me speaker
     Now that I am certified, I want to tell you how fortunate women who have breast cancer are to have such an incrdible organization.  Below is their mission statement.  I know you will understand why I said you are fortunate to have Y-me after you read the mission statement.

The mission of Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization is to ensure, through information, empowerment and peer support, that no one faces breast cancer alone.

    Please check out their website and check back often at

caring for you,
Carin g Hansen


Thoughts from the Heart

     Yesterday I attended an all day training session to become a certified speaker for the Y-me National Breast Cancer Organization.  It was a day filled with learning, sharing, fun and “a tiny test” at the end.  That is what the instructor kept calling it…but it really was not very tiny.  Anyway, I passed missing only a couple of questions – so I am now a Y-me certified speaker.  I wanted to plug you into their website this week.  It is full of great information, their mission, local and national program descriptions and much more.

    Today I would encourage you to go to and choose an article or two to read.  Body Beauty Issues? You’re not Alone is a very good article that dovetails with my book Beauty During the Cancer Journey, however, they are all good…so choose some that fit where you are at presently.  If you are a cancer patient journeying through the disease your choices will be much different than those who are caregivers, spouses or medical practitioners. 
     Also, be certain to check out their Partner Match Program.  It is the most unique program of its type offering peer counseling 24/7 to women on a cancer journey.  I cannot recommend the program highly enough.

     Check back Thursday when I will write about my personal involvement with Y-me.
caring for you,
Carin g Hansen

Thoughts From the Heart

     On Monday, I shared how a cancer journey can make you grow as a person in so many ways.  Today, I want to share the story of a women whose personal growth has touched hundreds of thousands of lives over the past nearly three decades.

Her name is Sue Miller.  She resides in Denver, Colorado; is a wife, mother, grandmother and all around extraordinary woman.  Prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer this beautiful woman was also a fashion model.  However, during the sixties and seventies breast cancer was something that could end your career as a model.  So it was with Sue. 

For almost a decade following her cancer she devoted herself to her family seeing them through to adulthood.   Then one day, she went into a prosthetic shop to be fitted for new prosthetics.  It was a visit that changed her life and the life of many others that know her.   The clerk, seeing what a beautiful woman she was and knowing her history as a fashion model, suggested Sue organize a fashion show specifically spotlighting breast cancer survivors.

Sue shares that she ran from the store absolutely horrified at the thought.  She had felt so ugly following her mastectomies and couldn’t imagine any woman who had experienced breast cancer feeling differently than she had.  However, something clicked in the back of her mind and she began to entertain these thoughts. 

Not long after, she held the first Evening of Caring at a local venue.  The only criteria for being a model was that you had to be a breast cancer survivor.  The response and support was phenomenal.   Evening of Caring became an annual event. 

The first few years it was always in the evening and each survivor modeled evening clothing.  Eventually the evening became a day event and the name was changed to Day of Caring.  Along with the change of time and name came a morning filled with seminars on everything dealing with breast cancer culminating in a wonderful lunch and signature fashion show.  The seminars covered everything from social concerns to the latest in diagnosis and treatment to insurance issues. 

The event was held annually for twenty-five years pulling over a thousand women, spouses, friends and family members in attendance for the last several years.  It was truly a wonderful day of celebration, learning, caring and sharing. 

The event grew to being held in several major cities across the US until in 2006 when Sue retired, the executive director moved away and the event was taken over by CURE magazine.  Day of Caring in Denver is now the magazine’s national annual breast cancer conference.

Never underestimate how much you can be, grow and do because of your cancer journey.  You have changed forever…for the good.  So, embrace the new you and your passion for life!

caring for you,
Carin g Hansen

Thoughts From the Heart

    This week and next I am going to share some things that I have heard, experienced myself or had shared with me from women journeying through cancer.  I trust they will be an encouragement, help and support for those of you who are currently on a cancer journey.   Today the thoughts are from my experiences during my cancer journey.

If God had asked me if I wanted breast cancer so I could grow as a person, I would have said “no”.  He didn’t ask, I had breast cancer and I am so grateful for the person it has made be become.

There are really only three responses to a crisis in life: whether personal, familial or financial.
First, you can be angry; begrudging the fact that you will never be the same again.  Although it is good to be real with the feelings you are experiencing – you do not allow yourself to heal.  You do  not grow as a person because you are too comsumed with anger and self-pity.
Second, you can deny that anything has happened.  This is not being in touch with reality.  It did happen and you cannot grow emotionally, spiritually or mentally if you deny the very thing that could cause growth ever happened.
Third, you can grab hold of what has happened.  You are not the same person and why would you want to be?  Life should make you grow, change and  be thankful that you are not the same person you were!

Please contact me if you need someone to talk to about your cancer journey…or you have questions you would like answered as they relate to beauty and cancer. 
caring for you,
Carin g Hansen

Shedding Light on Breast Cancer

I invite you to take a few minutes and watch a wonderful video.  It is about a light technology currently being researched at Duke University that will provide two great innovations to the treatment of breast cancer.  The first is that it will enable surgeons to better dessimate between healthy and cancerous tissue and thus reduce the occurence of repeated surgeries to get clean margins.  The second will help oncologists to determine whether or not a chemotherapy regimen is working to shrink tumors in the middle of a round of treatments.  Currently that is only possible at the end of a round.  It can be very frustrating to for everyone involved to find out a regimen has not been effective after the fact.

I love including these things in my blog because it all has to do with my mission to help women journeying through cancer
Below is the address.  Simply cut and paste it in the address bar.

caring for you,
Carin g Hansen

Can’t Wait?

     The corporate breakfast I spoke at on Wednesday for Y-Me was a huge success!  I wanted to give you some of the highlights presented to our potential corporate sponsor for the WALK TO EMPOWER.

      No one should have to face breast cancer alone.  Y-Me’s programs are uniquely suited to each women’s needs. 

      Some can’t wait for the cure!  Y-Me offers the most up-to-date information and guidance to those who are making the journey through cancer NOW.

      People are more likely to do business with or work for a company that supports a cause they care about.

     Check out Y-Me’s corporate sponsors at If you are part of a company that could consider supporting the Walk to Empower – please do so.  The walk is on Mother’s Day 2008 all across America.  Spread the word.  You can participate as a corporate team or a family team.  Family teams are not necessarily blood-families.  They are groups of people who have joined together for a cause.
     Both corporate and family teams participate to celebrate, remember and look to the future!
     caring for you,
     Carin G Hansen


     I have the wonderful opportunity to speak at a corporate fundraiser for Y-Me tomorrow so I thought I would give you some background into who and what Y-Me is about. 

     Y-Me offers support to women currently journeying through cancer.  There are many wonderful organizations whose mission is breast cancer awareness.  There are others that do a great job researching and sharing cancer prevention information.  However, Y-Me offers personal care. Their Survivor Match Program pairs patients with volunteer peer counselors that are matched according to diagnosis, age, social and work status, and so on.  In addition they host the 24-hour National Breast Cancer Hotline.  It is easy to get general information these days via the internet, books and, of course, physicians.   But these Y-Me programs tailor information and support to each woman’s unique needs and concerns…and that is invaluable.  Check them out at
     caring for you,
     Carin g Hansen

Saline or Silicone or Your Own Body Tissue?

     When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer back in 1994 silicone implants were not an options.  Because of some shoddy surgical methods causing adverse reactions and even rejection by women’s bodies of implants made from silicone they were pulled off the market for many years.  Additionally, the tram-flap and latissimus-flap surgeries had not yet been introduced.  
     So, when my husband and I made a decision to do reconstruction after my mastectomy, my only option was a saline implant.  When I had a second mastectomy in 1999 saline was still my only option.  Although the body tissue surgeries offer a great options to many women, I was not one of them.  I simply did not have enough excess body tissue to perform either of those.  My saline implants served me well…but in 2005 they began to show signs of deterioration and stretching, so off to the cosmetic surgeon I went for a consultation. 
    After many years of research, testing and re-testing silicone implants had been re-introduced as a reconstruction option for breast cancer patients and I chose to take that options.  Just one year ago I had both saline implants replaced with silicone and I couldn’t be happier.  I feel they are completely safe and they look great!
    So, what about YOU?  
    Saline implants are still a wonderful viable option for those who are not totally convinced that silicone is safe.  Additionally, although saline implants can rupture or leak.   When they do, the saline is simply reabsorbed by the body and the implants replaced.  However, they generally have a less natural appearance and do not “give” when pressed against.
     Silicone implants do not generally leak, but when they do – or when they rupture, you must have the silicone picked out of your body by a surgeon.  On the other hand, they provide a more natural appearance and can be pressed against with “give”.
     The body tissue surgeries are a wonderful advancement in the medical field!  Who would have dreamed of such a surgery even fifteen years ago?  They offer a very nice natural appearance and, of course, they “give” because they are your own tissue.  However, these surgeries are very extensive and demand a much longer healing and rehabilitaton time. 
     Should you opt for no reconstruction and go the prosthetic route your choices have never been any better. 
     So, the choice is yours.  Breast cancer beauty products in the form of implants and prosthetics are here to stay and the surgery options just keep growing.
caring for you,
Carin g Hansen 

Breast Cancer Beauty Products

     The breast cancer products you may need or find helpful depends on what surgery or treatment you have.
     If you have a biopsy followed by a lumpectomy you will not need anything too specific other than great skin care products to aide in healing the affected area(s).
     Should your medical protocol include radiation you may find you need some skin care products more specific to dealing with the effects of radiation.  Ointments containing vitamins A and D, Aquaphor ointment, and lotions containing aloe vera are good options to choose if you are experiencing a great deal of skin discomfort during treatment. (excerpt from Beauty During the Cancer Journey)
     For those of you who have a single or double mastectomy you will be making decisions regarding reconstruction or prosthetics.  If your choice is to go with prosthetics there are some great products out there.  I highly recommend you check out a company named Amoena.  They offer not only great prosthetics but also confident, caring, well-trained fitters.  Additionally they offer swimwear, bras and other clothing items made specifically for mastectomy patients.  Check them out at     Jodee, a line from JC Penney has some wonderful choices also.  You can find their catalog by visiting    Click on catalogs.  Jodee is on the second page of the catalogs.  Their products are very reasonably priced.  
     I hope this has been very helpful and encouraging.  Please take a moment and leave a comment if it has been.  I would love your feedback. 
     Also, visit my website   You will find information for ALL women.
caring for you,
Carin g Hansen    

Beauty Products for Cancer Patients

     If you have read many of my blog posts you know that I work with women journeying through cancer regarding health and beauty issues.  Today I want to share a few of the exciting products that are available to cancer patients.

Cancer beauty products range from skin care to cosmetics to headwear to eyebrow prosthetics to image coaches who can help you with all these.
     Skin care is of utmost importance during the cancer journey.  Due to surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and other insults to your body your skin can become very dry and papery.  Using organic or natural products on your skin offers nourishment.  Chemical moisturizers may be hard for your skin to utilize in it’s compromised state.   Try such lines as Lily Organics, Arbonne, Juice Beauty and Miessence.
     Your cosmetics during treatment need to offer ease of application and the same nourishment as your skin care products.  In my e-book Beauty During the Cancer Journey I offer advise on a simple makeup regimen offering maximum results with minimum effort.  Check out Bren, Miessence, Arbonne and Senna for great products including eyebrow stencils.  Avon will begin offering a brow stencil in about two weeks that is very affordable and easy to work with.
     Hair prosthetics (wigs) are something you may choose to purchase if you lose your hair or you might choose turbans, scarves and hats.  Whichever choice you make the options are wonderful!  Find a local wigier (wig consultant) or check out such lines as Parkhurst Hats, Jodee by JC Penney and Savvy Sheitels.
     What are eyebrow prosthetics, you may be asking.  They are affordable, easy to apply false eyebrows that last several weeks depending on how you care for them.  They can be trimmed and dyed.  These are available for men and women.  What a great product!  Check out nuBrow today.
     I mentioned the information available in my e-book on cosmetics.  However, you will find information, tips and insight on each of these areas in this e-book.  I am certain you will find it extremely valuable on your cancer journey. 

     Breast cancer beauty products include everything I listed above AND more.  So, please check back Wednesday for some products specific to breast cancer and beauty.

caring for you,
Carin g Hansen