Breast Briefs

Crazy, Sexy Cancer Tips

By JEAN CRISS

crazysexytipsAre you going crazy in search of that solution or that simple piece of advice after having breast cancer? Well I might just have some helpful tips of interest to you.  A list of Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips especially devised for breast cancer survivors or family members to help make life a little easier and comforting.  As a breast cancer survivor of nine years now since 2007, I was in search of inspiration and all sorts of crazy sexy wellness solutions and found some ideas from New York Times best-selling author, wellness activist and friend, Kris Carr.  We met in New York City at a leading women’s entrepreneur event, Ladies Who Launch, where I had been a member for a number of years on end, when I learned about Kris’ first inspiring book and her journey.

5booksandfilmJean Criss with Kris Carr and her publications

I knew that I too wanted to cover the gamut, to provide survivors a list of ideas and items to think about pre and post-breast surgery.  Sometimes it’s helpful if a sister survivor can lend a shoulder to cry on or share a tip or two of advice to make your life easier and more comforting during that experience.  Suggestions from the heart, for you and family members, to make a woman’s journey a little easier just when you may need a little help from a friend.

Here’s what I have to say about improving your mind, body and soul during this traumatic time in a survivor’s life with my own custom Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips! These tips are explained at greater length in my breast cancer book My Pain Woke Me Up: BLISS

  • Appreciate your cancer babes
  • Watch out for PTSD
  • Find your sacred space
  • Mind your faux-pas
  • Tell all or don’t tell!
  • Go to cancer college
  • Document and track your medical history/treatments
  • Take a cancer-cation
  • Acknowledge sister survivors
  • Balance your life
  • Spend enjoyable time with family & children
  • Stop and smell the roses
  • Listen to your body
  • And lastly, don’t let cancer get the breast of you, I didn’t!
  • Early detection is the best protection!

 Next, what mind body practices and lifestyle changes have you made and how have they impacted your life?

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Over the past several years I’ve succumbed to numerous food and drug allergies post-cancer similar to Kris’ experience but with a different type of cancer.  I have found many helpful resources about foods, ingredients and nutrition to be so important to me since diagnosis.  Kris’ book provided that too along with the FoodFacts website.  Eating the right foods and proper daily exercise has proven to make a healthy difference in my life.  Keeping up with healthy breast awareness – along with a positive mind, body, and spirit may have a life-long affect to a healthy lifestyle.free-dancerAs I always say: Don’t Let Cancer Get the Breast of You! 

All the breast,

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By JEAN CRISS

Breast Briefs on Lingerie BriefsHave you ever been worried or concerned about how to continue to be stylish or fashionable before undergoing breast surgery for cancer?  Yes, there are numerous Bras, Sports Bras, Bandeaus, Camisoles and like Lingerie on the market today but I find that each Survivor has a unique situation with a unique needs and fitting requirements.

To preview a list of merchandising options that may be right for you today I’d like to highlight a known brand in the world of cancer.  Better known to many as #CUREDIVA.  We all become Cancer Diva’s once we become a Survivor.  It’s a known fact that we become empowered, educated and informed.  We have to after all because it’s all about healthy breast awareness and wellness.  But what our Top Docs don’t always know is where to help us turn for stylish and fashionable undergarments.  So sometimes it’s best when we turn to our Sister Survivors for the answers.JC

I know that I’ve become a resource to many Survivors over the years as I’m approaching nine years this July as a Survivor and I also turn to many wonderful industry resources that have helped me along the way.  Cure Today is one of those resources, a collection of magazines about Cancer – all types and stages of cancer.  More importantly, when you Shop Cancer, they have an online shopping site which allows you to preview the many post-surgical merchandising options available on the market today.

So take a look at their Stylish Living with Cancer options to address your particular needs.  You just might find the right fit for your particular situation.  I know many who have and are pleased with the outcome.

In my Breast Cancer book My Pain Woke Me Up: BLISS! I wrote about many resource options available to Survivors as shopping cancer can be stressful and challenging.

So be sure to stop and shop for the right products with the proper guidance and input from your Sister Survivors and, of course, your physicians.  Gaining that insight will make the difference.

 

All the breast,

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By JEAN CRISS

Smart Research for Breast Cancer on Lingerie Briefs

I recently attended one of my favorite annual conferences with New York’s #Top Docs on May 3, 2016.  The Breast Cancer Management Conference – Comprehensive Breast Center Program Update sponsored by New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center | Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center.  This year’s program update provided the latest in medical research and state-of-the-art breast cancer diagnosis and management, highlighting key advances with a personalized approach to screening, prevention, treatment and survivorship led by Sheldon Marc Feldman, MD, FACS & Dawn L. Hershman, MD, MS, Program Co-Directors.

Emphasis was discussed in the following areas;

  • Improvements in providing precise breast cancer management through enriched understanding of tumor biology and genetics
  • Active areas of the most promising research and clinical trials
  • Updates were presented by the staffs leading radiology, medical oncology, genetics, surgery, pathology, and radiation oncology
  • Survivorship strategies, services and on-going support by the Patient Navigation Program
  • Department updates and relevant cross-over by Breast Cancer, Oncology, OB/GYN and Surgery
  • Advances in local therapy with surgery and radiation
  • New Breast Cancer screening guidelines
  • Individual Risk Assessment and prevention approach
  • And other topics and panels of discussion

The topics most intriguing to me were the key advancements with Alternatives to Pre-operative Wire Localization (seed vs wire localization), new Gene Subtypes (21 gene recurrence score), Risk Assessment (spectrum of Breast Cancer disease), Thermo Surgery (sentinel Lymph Node surgery), and Survivorship Strategies.  The guidelines Columbia University shared with the group of leading physicians was current, relevant and provided the latest in medical research. You can learn more about the state-of-the-art breast cancer diagnosis and management technology updates on future #BREASTBRIEF blog posts.

Smart research for Breast Cancer on Lingerie Briefs

As a 9-year breast cancer survivor, I cannot emphasize the importance and relevance to ALL survivors. I feel it’s so important to stay informed about your breast health and wellness.  I know that regular check-ups are critical for smart breast health.  Check and recheck; just like you check your financials before you submit an annual tax return, seriously ladies.   As a woman’s body may go thru many life changes as we get older, we cannot forget the basic steps of good breast health and wellness.

When I was diagnosed in July 2007, I had already been pro-active, having bi-annual mammograms to monitor cysts that had been previously discovered in my breasts. It was a good thing we were watching them regularly.  That’s when my Top Docs found my bi-lateral cancer during my regular check-up.  Later that led to additional screening and diagnosis, first with additional X-Rays, Ultrasound and then MRI.  Then, I had additional diagnosis, second and third opinions (from other Top Docs and Surgeons) after biopsy, and together we laid out a plan of action to tackle the disease.

We make joint decisions on the breast procedures for our body but ultimately that decision is yours.  We put our hands in our Top Docs and let them take it from there.  It’s the care we want when this news is dropped in our plate and we need to take it one step at a time from there on in.

There was no doubt what they saw.  I even saw the cancer on the films for myself.  My Radiologist was wonderful and explained it to me very carefully as I was remarkably diagnosed with bi-lateral cancer to their shock and dismay as well.  I called it my “salt ‘n pepper” and then documented in my Breast Cancer story in BLISS – little pea sized black and white dots as seen on both breasts.  The cancer was not found where my former cysts were located either.  Hence frequent screening was critical to my future breast health and wellness and I find that it still is.  I continue to stay ahead of the curve with the breast in self-knowledge and education as every survivors should.

A note to all survivors: we all want to feel confident on the inside and look beautiful on the outside so let’s embrace change together.  Be knowledgeable, educate and take risk.  Don’t let cancer get the breast of you – I haven’t!  Diagnosis, prevention, screening and management are important steps to remember.  So what’s on your SMART Breast Checklist!  These steps will make a difference in your life.  It has with mine.
All the breast!

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By JEAN CRISS

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There once were three beautiful fairy tale gals namely Cinderella, Dorothy and Alice…and now, in the world of Intimate Apparel, there’s Terry Levine and Clair Keizer, owners of Clair De Lune Lingerie in Kansas City! These iconic storybook figures and their journeys to self-awareness and self-esteem have made an impact on the lives of countless little girls! 

Dorothy, with Toto by her side, was in pursuit of the magical red slippers.  She followed the Yellow Brick Road toward the Emerald City in search of the Wizard of Oz hoping to find her way back home to “normalcy”.  Along the way, she had to overcome many roadblocks, including the Wicked Witch of the West. As breast cancer survivors, that’s what most women do on their journey back to normalcy, overcome obstacles. This begins with undergarments.

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It was the same for Alice who followed the White Rabbit into a Wonderland of Adventure but in the end she just wanted to be herself again, sitting unencumbered in a beautiful garden. And Cinderella sought escape from her wicked step sisters, finding it when Prince Charming placed the perfectly fitting “glass slipper” on her foot.

These caricatures all wanted the same thing – a life of normality after a very challenging journey.  In Lingerie today we are proud to reveal a new story with an equally happy ending; one that brings forward solutions to women of all figures and breast sizes during the changes a woman experiences in life!

From maternity, nursing bras to post-surgical garments used for mastectomy and also shapewear, a woman’s looking glass is crystal clear with Clair de Lunes in depth fit program. No matter what life change she may go thru, this shop has offered the virtues of women’s leading brands for well over 11 years.

firsstWhat turns this into a fairy tale story come true is their new Initiative, The First Bra Foundation. This program offers the ability for Breast Cancer Survivors to receive a FREE bra of choice, along with a personal fitting experience. Clair De Lune understands that finding that first bra as a breast cancer survivor can be a challenging moment, and they want to make that moment as easy and anxiety-free as possible.  It’s a simple process to sign-up.

After enduring a single or bilateral mastectomy, the experience can be traumatic.  Just as Dorothy was blown away in the tornado and in the beginning, feeling isolated on that Yellow Brick Road, she may have found it difficult to believe that anyone out there supported her.  Yet she found the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion who had her back.  They found the Wizard, fought off the Wicked Witch and found peace   As we fight to put an end to breast cancer forever, survivors need to take our first step to regaining their self-esteem.  It’s the products we wear along that path that will help us towards feeling confident and looking beautiful!  The First Bra Foundation is here to support Survivors and step you through the process by providing a free bra and fitting.  What more could a woman ask for? I know I would be asking for a First Bra experience. How about you?

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It’s clear to me that Clair and Terry have created a woman’s fairy tale by packaging a girl’s dream bra in a one-stop shop, pay-it-forward solution.  Their wish is to spread their story and engage other retailers in this cause.

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You can learn more about Clair de Lune and The First Bra Foundation by visiting their websites.  

Clair de Lune Will Make Your Fairy Tale Dreams Come True!

All the breast!

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By JEAN CRISS

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Many of my sister survivors have had similar experiences to mine as a breast cancer survivor.  Basically, we have not been thrilled with our post-op experience leaving the OR room in the ugly, utilitarian, uncomfortable bras that we are given to wear.  I know that I am not alone being a ‘newbie’ designer launching in the Intimate Apparel grand marketplace.  Over the past several months, I’ve recently met a few Mastectomy Mates from all around the U.S. and down under.

What is notably the same is our passion to design a product that offers comfort, style and selections for survivors, no matter what phase of post-op you may need.  Take Dana Donofree of Ana Ono who knew nothing fit just right and created a line of wire-free bras, bralettes and sports bras; or the Tan sisters of Sophia Rose who created a line not to compromise on comfort, fit or quality and dedicated it to their mother; or Tina Doueihi of Red Fern who created a bra line with pockets and lace for prosthesis patients, and the list goes on.  What I do know is that survivors want to ‘feel confident and look beautiful’ as I designed in my CRISSCROSS™ line, compression undergarments which provide advanced healing, comfort and style.  I just kept thinking about how I want a survivor to feel when you leave the OR room or step into your home or workplace, so you can be you!  You don’t have to worry about hiding your undergarment and you can feel good about yourself and what you wear. Isn’t that what we’ve all been asking for anyway?!

So on a cold wintry day in February before the upcoming #CURVENY trade show and exhibition for leading intimate apparel brands I sat down for a one-on-one interview with my mastectomy mate, Tina Doueihi.  Tina is a new bra designer at Red Fern Lingerie who produces Lingerie for Sexy Survivors® in Australia.  Sexy prosthesis bras made for survivors by an 8-year survivor, that’s what she wanted to do. Tina and I had been corresponding for a while and we finally were able to meet up.

She had just arrived early that morning in NYC and was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, filled with joy and elation to return to the U.S.A. and participate at the upcoming trade show to promote her new brand.  While Tina left her cute, red marsupial friends behind, she brought with her a delightful bag of sexy survivor bras in all sorts of styles and colors.

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Over lunch Tina shared with me her story about being a #survivor, her desire to bring a new line to market for breast cancer patients who are in need of garments that hold prosthesis and look fashionable.  She explained how she went about her launch.

Additionally, in February, Tina was called upon to provide a bra with matching briefs in the celeb gift bags to be distributed at #OSCARS2016 recent gala event.  She was thrilled to receive such great exposure and was hopeful celebs would admire her new brand.

When I asked Tina about her vision for the brand, here’s what she had to say. . .

”Red Fern strives to create beautiful & luxurious lingerie. We aim to help women who have experienced breast cancer reconnect with their femininity, and to simply feel sexy and confident.”

A few styles I liked in particular that separate her brand from others, in my opinion, is the unique femininity of the design in a mastectomy prosthesis bras.

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Tina is also a supporter of various non-profit organizations.  Here’s how her charity works.  When a survivor places a bra order online thru her website, at checkout they will be asked to nominate a listed charity they’d like to support.  At the end of every financial year the breast cancer charity with the most nominations will receive a financial donation from Red Fern Lingerie.  It’s a very creative way to give back to a worthy cause and know that someone cares.

Key closing comments Tina made sure to bring back home to her sister survivors, mastectomy mates. . .

A brand created by a survivor for survivors. My marketing ads and any participation at trade show exhibitions are modeled only by breast cancer survivors.  They don’t have to be a size 0 or 2 model or wear a 36B band size.  My goal is to show that any size survivor can be sexy after surgery, unilateral or bilateral mastectomy.  That’s what makes me happy.

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So you don’t have to be unhappy or uncomfortable anymore when there are new designs on the marketplace that offer alluring color, style, lace and fashion in mastectomy brands.  It’s all about feeling confident and looking good and leading as normal a life after breast cancer – why not!

Learn more about Red Fern Lingerie and shop their brand here.

 

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