What is the Chemo Chic Project?

Our vision is to create a brilliant resource for anyone affected by the trauma of cancer – friends and family included. If you feel you have a story that can inspire others, or just some good practical tips, then we would love your contribution.

If you, or someone you love is experiencing cancer now or has experienced cancer in the past then you have something to offer to the Chemo Chic Project.

The Chemo Chic Project is about living well now. It’s about looking great despite our hair falling out. It’s about eating delicious and health-giving food. It’s about getting through the tears and laughter that each day brings, sharing the load and helping one another. Being Chemo Chic is surviving cancer with style.

Click here to read our submissions guidelines and send us your story.

And please feel free to comment on any or all of the posts.

Opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors, not of The Chemo Chic Project.

Trinny and Susannah Go Chemo Chic!

trinny and susannah kissingThose fabulous fashionistas Trinny & Susannah have written a brilliant article on their blog – all about how to dress comfortably and stylishly after a mastectomy. We totally endorse their approach, and they totally endorse Chemo Chic. It’s an all-round love-in!

Read Trinny and Susannah’s excellent style tips here.

Amanda Goes Paraben-Free

Amanda WardellAfter Amanda O’Neill was diagnosed with breast cancer she became concerned about toxic ingredients in beauty products, both for herself and for her baby daughter. Amanda writes:

In June 2010, aged 33, and just after the birth of my little girl, I was shocked to hear the words “you have cancer.” I was diagnosed with breast cancer – a grade three invasive ductal carcinoma.

At the time, I didn’t fully understand what that meant but I knew it wasn’t good news. As a child, I watched my very beautiful mother battle brain cancer, so I knew what to expect of the chemotherapy, but Continue reading

Writing to Heal

You don't have to be Bob Dylan to benefit from expressive writing

You don’t have to be Bob Dylan to benefit from expressive writing

I am a writer by trade. When I was going through chemotherapy my friends urged me to write a blog. Write a blog? I thought, No way! - because A: it’s work, and B: who on earth would want to read a blog about somebody having cancer? Not me.

One day, en-route to the hospital and bedecked with headscarf, chandelier earrings, red lipstick and dark glasses, I stepped into my friend Jamie’s car to be greeted with his remark, ‘You’re really working the chemo chic look today girl.’ And that was it – a blog was born: Chemo Chic – A Guide to Surviving Cancer With Style. And then a book: The Elegant Art of Falling Apart. And then this website: The Chemo Chic Project.

All the way through my illness I wrote and wrote. On occasions it was difficult to describe the ghastliness of the chemo, the tediousness of the radiotherapy and the fear and desolation that I sometimes experienced. Other times it was pure joy to write about the silliness of encounters with my doctors, the kindness of the nurses and the love that landed on me in unexpected ways from all of my friends. No matter what I wrote about, after writing I always felt better.

My instinct was, and is, that writing is good for you but there is more to this than just my fancy. Continue reading

Things I wish I’d known before #3 – How to evaluate complementary therapies

Angelina Jolie - anyone can be affected by breast cancer

Angelina Jolie – anyone can be affected by breast cancer

Debate rages on the internet following Angelina Jolie’s announcement that she has had a preventative double-mastectomy. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion. But where does this leave the person who really matters – the patient?

When serious illness strikes, we search for cures. It’s a perfectly sane reaction to a life-threatening situation. In fact, it may feel almost irresponsible not to do so. Unfortunately there are some people ready and willing to exploit our fear and desperation, whether it be for profit or personal aggrandisement. Others have more philanthropic motives but may be strongly influenced by their own personal belief system. Continue reading

Gloria’s Glorious Veggies

 

carrot apple beetrootGloria Meltzer writes:

I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast in September 2011. I had a lumpectomy followed by 25 sessions of radiotherapy. The margins were clear, the one lymph node taken was clear, so no chemo required.

I am so fortunate to have a very loving, supportive partner. That makes a world of difference to coping with a cancer diagnosis. One of my strongest motivations to keep well is to live to see my four beautiful young grandchildren grow up.

At the time, I read everything I could lay my hands on – searching for a recipe for future cancer prevention. I followed a naturopath’s advice and he obtained some high quality supplements for me. I began taking 5 drops a day of iodine diluted in water, from a compounding pharmacy. I read and decided to rigorously follow Professor Jane Plant’s book ‘Your Life In Your Hands’ and have now been on a completely dairy-free diet for 12 months. There are also many good recipes to be found in Jane Plant’s book ‘Eating for Better Health’. My partner and I grow many of our organic vegetables ourselves. Nowadays I eat and cook a sensationally healthy diet.

I live in central Victoria on a bush block, so I do regular bush walks – weather permitting. I attend a yoga class weekly and practise yoga at home every morning.

I have long been interested in health foods and healthy cooking, but cancer gave me the incentive to do this daily and much more rigorously. The result has been that this has been the healthiest year of my life: my first winter with no sore throat nor cold or flu bug. Now I want to share a few of my simple recipes.  Continue reading

Good Glamour

PINK is bustin’ out all o-o-ver. If you’ve been anywhere near a department store in the last couple of weeks you will not have failed to notice that it is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

To celebrate, I’ve been down to the hospital and had a bunch of scans and mammograms and they’re all clear!

Breast cancer awareness month is obviously a not-to-be-missed opportunity for celebrities to flaunt their caring credentials. But what about your friend who is actually going through breast cancer? Is she out at some cosmetics-industry sponsored party, drinking pink champagne, snacking on smoked salmon and strawberry cupcakes and being photographed for Heat magazine? Hell no! Continue reading

Not the Year You Had Planned

Cathy McCarthy was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2007. She had surgery, 6 sessions of chemotherapy and 33 sessions of radiotherapy. Having recovered  from the treatment she feels blessed to now be so well. She describes her bout with cancer as an opportunity to get living:

May you find the wisdom to listen to your illness? Ask it why it came, where it wants to take you What it wants you to know, What quality of space it wants to create in you What you need to learn to become more fully yourself That your presence may shine in the world. – John O’Donohue

It is a great shock to be diagnosed with any form of cancer. It takes a while to filter the information and to believe that you are the one with the cancer.

When I was diagnosed I decided I was going to make the most of the unexpected year in my life. It was not the year I had planned, but it was the year I had been given. Continue reading