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    Summer Fun in the Sun - Breast Cancer Style

    Summer can be a bit different if you are sporting a bald head or trying to get used to a new prosthesis.

    The stories of bobbing for the boob in the local swimming pool are funny to hear, but a little embarrassing if you are the one doing the "follow the breast" stroke.

    Some hints for getting the most out of the season:

    • Drink plenty of water. Chemo, radiation and many medications tend to make you dehydrated. Add summer sun to the equation and you could wind up spending you night cooling off in the local emergency room.
    • Wear lots of sunscreen. Some of the treatments for breast cancer create a condition known as photosensitivity. You react to sunlight by getting rashes or other alarming symptoms. Piling on tons of clothes or staying indoors would be a shame, but when you do venture out - take appropriate precautions.
    • Cover that beautiful bald head. Even with sunscreen, your scalp is not used to getting a lot of sun and a sunburn is definitely not what the doctor ordered.
    • Going swimming? Think about your new equipment. Make sure that if you wear a prosthesis, you have it secured in your bathing suit. There are plenty of places that offer attractive post mastectomy suits that will do the job. A little waterproof adhesive is a good insurance policy.
    • Don't overdo it. Try to remember that you are healing in many ways and that takes a lot of your energy. Plan your day so that you get plenty of rest between outings.
    • Don't stay indoors and feel sorry for yourself. Mental state has a lot to do with healing. You may not feel like going bareheaded or sweating under a wig, but the first time is the hardest and it does get better. If anyone stares, just give them a big smile. You are getting better and enjoying being alive. Who cares if that attracts a glance or two!
    • Don't skip the swimming pool or the beach because you might feel awkward. You'll get over the strange feeling while you're having fun splashing around.
    • Don't let silly comments get to you. We all know that people can be insensitive... sometimes with the kindest intentions. If you are strong enough to battle breast cancer, you are absolutely strong enough to tune out dumb remarks.
    • Be prepared for questions - especially from children. Meet them with honest responses. You have a disease and you are getting better and the treatments that make you better sometimes do odd things to your body. It's the price you pay for staying alive... not such a bad tradeoff.
    • Remember how lucky you are to be with the people you cherish - doing things that bring you pleasure.

    Living with breast cancer entails some adjustments, but you can use that survivor's sense of humor to enjoy the summer. See you at the beach!

    June 15, 2000

    Last updated March 31, 2006

    Elsewhere on the Web:

    Breast Prostheses and Hair Loss Accessories List
    Exercise Can Improve Breast Cancer Survival



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