The Esteé Lauder Companies’ New Book Encourages Women To Reflect On Life Beyond Breast Cancer

The Estée Lauder Companies' Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign has gathered inspiring quotes and anecdotes from both women and men who have been affected by breast cancer

Lots of people have been affected by cancer in some way, but not many stop and ask, ‘What happens afterwards?’ A new Esteé Lauder campaign is doing just that by publishing a book of quotes called Afterwards: Reflections On A Life Beyond Breast Cancer. As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the quotes come from breast cancer survivors, those still receiving treatment, their families, and those who have lost loved ones. Here are some of the touching stories…

Justine, 44

Diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2014 and due to have a double mastectomy in October 2015.

‘My advice would be to try not to worry yourself about the ‘what ifs’ and remember to never give up hope. Everyone has their own way of dealing with breast cancer. There is no wrong or right way to approach it.’

Sharon, 36
Diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2013.

‘I didn’t have time to have cancer with three young boys, two jobs and a love for running. Carrying on as both a mum and wife was very important to me, so I continuted to do the school runs and work. I even went running between my chemo sessions. I would advise people to try to continue with life in as normal a way as their body allows.’

Guy, 34
Guy’s mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer twice. The first was in 1989 and the second time was in 2011.

‘Try to stay positive yourself. Also encourage those going through cancer to think about the things they really enjoy doing, to help to keep their spirits up.’

Ali, 43
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. In 2013, she co-founded the charity Annabel’s Angels, which raises funds to increase support for patients, carers and families living with cancer in Derby.

‘I’d say never lose your sense of humour or take life too seriously. In preparation for losing my hair, my sister and I made Top Trumps-style cards out of all my bad hairstyles in the past. Growing up in the eighties, this wasn’t difficult. Of course, losing your hair isn’t laughable, but you can have fun experimenting with wigs and accessories. I appreciate I have a unique sense of humour but it worked for me, so find what works for you.’

Beryl, 72
Finished breast cancer treatment in 2011.

‘Breast cancer treatment does not last forever, so just do what you can to look after yourself properly.’

Lara, 32
Says she’ll be ‘celebrating’ her one year ‘cancer-versary’ in October 2015.

‘It’s okay to hide yourself away from the world and stay in your pyjamas. It’s okay to feel ugly and gross and unwomanly. Just remember it’s not forever and you can come out the other side feeling stronger and more empowered than ever before.’

Joanne, 50
Diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2013. She has since had a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and breast reconstruction surgery.

‘It helped me to keep a positive memories book where I would write down all the lovely things that happened that day. These included things like having a nice meal with friends, or when my son got his first three wickets in a cricket match. It’s so lovely to read this back. It’s something I still fill in everyday.’

Sylvia
Diagnosed and treated in 2012. She is now well and having yearly checkups.

‘I feel it is very important that each person is able to follow their own path in how they deal with breast cancer and what feels right for them. Any carer, friend or family member needs to listen to their wishes and not pressure them down another road. This may sometimes happen because of their very understandable fear of losing a loved one.’

Lisa, 51
Lisa’s mother, who is 75, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2015.

‘My mother just loves to talk about her breast cancer, and this really helps her to get through it. Being there from the very beginning and offering her support allows her to stay positive.’

Jenny, 44
Lost her sister to cancer and was diagnosed with breast cancer herself in 2014. She is currently in remission.

‘As much as I lead a normal life there are some moments where I don’t feel normal, but I think it’s important to move forward and live the life handed to you.’

Philippa, 37
Was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. She celebrated finishing treatment just before her 33rd birthday.

‘I took up knitting as a distraction when I was too tired to do anything else. To cheer myself up, I’d go shopping, walking, visit friends or get a cuddle from my young niece. Those cuddles were the best medicine.’

Clare, 50
Film-Industry Executive, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2013 when she was 48. After undergoing chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy, which ended in January 2014, she was diagnosed with bone metastasis in June 2015.

‘…You need to be kind to yourself. It’s hard but don’t spend any time on the ‘why me’ conundrum. Live in the present and the future. Treat yourself all the time. You don’t have to be lavish, small things make all the difference…A trip to the cinema with friends, a new lipstick, a long luxurious bath with candles and oils. Take up the offers of the complementary medicine, try armoatherpy, reiki and reflexology. This is all for you. Not for your kids, your husband, your friends, but for you.’ Be kind to yourself and when others offer to help, don’t say ‘I’m fine’, say ‘thank you’ and then tell them what you need from. Whether it’s someone to do a small shop for you, to help prepare a meal, to go to the post office or to help you get the washing done. These things are a gift from those who love you and want to help. They need a steer in what to do otherwise they feel helpless.’

Elke, 41
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. Mammograms in September 2015 showed no evidence of recurrent disease.

‘I used to think that everything would go back to normal after treatment; I couldn’t have been more wrong. I don’t even know what ‘normal’ is anymore. Cancer has changed me, physically, emotionally and mentally. But it hasn’t all been bad: I finally learnt that I count and that it’s okay to treat myself, as well as others. I learnt that ‘I’ll do that when the kids are a bit older, when we have a bit more money, when the sun is out, when we’re retired’ might never happen.

‘My advice would be that if you really want to do something you can. Do it! Do it now! Start doing it right now. Otherwise, a few years down the line, you might find yourself wishing you were as young as you were when you decided you were too old to do whatever it was that you wanted to do.’

Ali, 43

‘Remeber to focus on all the amazing things about yourself. Be your own cheerleader.’

For more information on the Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign visit BCAcampaign.com

Esteé Lauder are enlisting the support of their global community to create an international, multimedia project that they will share globally on World Cancer Day, February 4, 2016. All actions submitted via BCAcampaign.com between October 1 and December 31, 2015 will be eligible for inclusion.

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