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The breast cancer guide every woman needs for herself, her best friend, and her sister—a warm, practical, relatable handbook, that dispels the terror, taking you step-by-step through the process, from diagnosis to post-treatment.
When Andrea Hutton was diagnosed with breast cancer, she wanted to know everything. She voraciously read books, articles, and websites and talked to everyone she knew. But nothing prepared her for what the surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation would feel like. Were there tricks that could ease her pain and discomfort? What was “fatigue” and how would it affect her? At what exact moment would her hair fall out and how? Hutton wanted what she could not find: a clear how-to guide for the cancer girl she had become.
Bald Is Better with Earrings is Hutton’s answer for women diagnosed with breast cancer: a straightforward handbook, leavened with humor and inspiration, to shepherd them though the experience. Warm and down-to-earth, Hutton explains what to expect and walks you through this intense and emotional process: tests, surgery, chemo, losing your hair and shaving your head, being bald, radiation treatments.
Hutton offers a wealth of invaluable advice—from tricks for surviving chemo, to treating your skin during radiation, to keeping track of meds—and includes a practical list of tips for each stage of the process at the end of every chapter. Compassionate, friendly, and shaped by Hutton’s first-hand knowledge, Bald Is Better with Earrings is the comprehensive, essential companion for anyone dealing with breast cancer.
From the Publisher
How Breast Cancer Changed My Life by Andrea Hutton
I know, I know—so cliché. The thing is, though, last year I was interviewed by my local paper and at the end of the interview, the interviewer asked, “How has having breast cancer changed your life?” I answered, “In every single way.”
Having breast cancer changed all of me: body and soul. It’s not that I’ve changed my life. I still eat way too much chocolate, watch TV, read the same. It’s more that I have been changed.
Let’s start with the obvious—my body. I lost those pesky seven pounds I’d been fighting for years. Nothing like a little chemo diet to get you started. And of course, the more obvious—I’m not only minus those seven pounds, but a breast as well. No, my breast did not weigh seven pounds—I wish! My hair might have though. It was pretty darn thick and luscious. Now it’s thick and kind of like a poodle’s. In addition, one of my toenails has never quite recovered from its bout with chemo and at any given moment, I’m likely to burst into flames from the early medically induced menopausal hot flashes. That’s just the outside.
The less obvious—I slowed down. Almost every breast cancer survivor whom I’ve met has said the same thing. It’s not that I changed my religion, or found yoga (in fact, I hate yoga). I didn’t give up coffee or anything else, for that matter (except Diet Coke—my son made me do that). I just found that I can enjoy a different pace now. It’s not exactly “take time to smell the roses” slower, but it’s different. Life is short and that stupid, pink, ribbon-wearing elephant takes up a lot of room in my house and mind so there’s less room for clutter.
When you undergo treatment for cancer, people always say, “You’re so strong.” Or, “You’re so brave.” The truth is, most of us are strong and weak, brave and terrified. And that’s okay. We learn the truth about ourselves in those dark moments—and sometimes the truth about those around us. I dealt with some of it well, and some of it horribly—just like everyone else. I definitely learned how to say, “I’m sorry.” That and “I have to lie down.” Not entirely sure which one I said more.
So, when we moved to Santa Barbara—lucky me—I could walk on the beach, collect sea glass, and be happy with that. For the first time, I didn’t feel like I had to be outwardly productive all the time. It turns out quiet time is productive too, but it was during my year of nothing-but-cancer that I was able to learn that. When your life is filled with doctor’s appointments, blood tests, infusions, and side effects, you simply don’t have the time to do everything you used to do. So you learn to do less, and that seems to stick.
Then there’s the not-so-obvious. I became a writer. I realized that all the information I had gathered along my breast cancer road needed to get out there. I wanted to share all the tips and hints that the amazing doctors, nurses, survivors and my own research had taught me. Never in a million years did I think I could write a whole book. Yet—I did.
Cancer changed my family as well. I won’t speak for them (because they hate it when I do that), but without a doubt, we are all changed.