ITW n°25: Corinne - K fighter.
Ex K breast fighter & Creator of Neosensuelle: "the lingerie brand for all those women who have had their breasts abused"
First of all, thank you very much for agreeing to share your K's story, it's really courageous and generous of you :)
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Corinne
Age: 48 years old
Profession: Business manager recently
Where do you live: in Essonne
Why are you agreeing to share your story today?
To remind women that life is the greatest gift we have been given!
and that we must not give up.
What are your qualities (in a few words)?
I would say mainly optimistic and endowed with a contagious positivism.
What are your passions (in a few words)?
Life, watercolor and dance
Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ?
My cancer was discovered in June 2004, during a gynecological appointment, I was 37 years old.
Infiltrative cancer of the left breast / grade 3 not nice….
I heard the word total remission, 6 years later and I haven't had hormone therapy.
What treatment did you have?
chemo: if you have had it: name of the cocktails
The classic cocktail of the Fec100 era /Tax a session every 3 weeks
radiotherapy: if you have had it:
radiotherapy every day for an endless number of days… (I forget the exact number). I had the first appointment in the morning so as not to wait, I left for work (therapeutic part-time) and I came back in the afternoon to take a nap until the end of school, I could go and pick up the children, it was just good!
operation if you have had one (how long were you hospitalized):
I was hospitalized at the IGR for the ablation.
2 ½ years later, I tried a reconstruction with a simple internal prosthesis which had to be removed 3 months later.
Rejection? super-infection? I will never know but for me it was a sign that I had to accept my body as it was…
What tips directly related to K do you want to share?
(your feeling with the doctor, your good treatment organization plans, anything that seems useful to you ;))?
I had a friend who dropped me off at the IGR with whom I talked about everything, but not just about the illness and above all she didn't try to find solutions for me...
The doctors, nurses, caregivers and secretaries were really pleasant, discreet, always attentive.
On site I had an mp3 and I listened to music or dozed off. I didn't want to talk with the other patients, I didn't want to manage their illnesses and being told that I wasn't alone didn't help me, I could see that the IGR was always full …
During the treatment I followed the prescribed treatments without any other particular choice apart from taking omega3.
On the other hand, shortly after stopping the treatment I started to see a kinesiologist (or energy therapist) and then later I went for shiatsu treatments. The goal was to get my body and mind back on track. Difficult to explain but it helped me to feel life less heavy on my shoulders and to be able to trust myself.
What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?
I did a lot of watercolor painting right before chemo and then I was just resting and being with my kids. I decided to keep my professional activity. I stopped for 10 days for chemo and started again until the next one. It was cool of my job to accept that, because I wasn't at my best. But, being forced to put on makeup, get dressed and above all having my mind occupied by something other than the illness was vital for me. I would never have wanted to take 1 year and cut myself off from my activity.What practical “beauty/well-being” tips can you advise us?
The first thing I did was go to a beautician, specializing in self-image at IGR. Aury taught me how to apply makeup even though I had lost my eyelashes and eyebrows, and his advice was very useful to me. I would have liked to go see her during each chemo but she was very busy. I didn't want to go to associations, because I didn't want to listen to other women, I had enough to do with my feelings...
I searched a lot to find a great cream for my feet that were in bad shape. Akylein for very dry feet was my favorite. Today, my feet are still very dry and it is impossible for me to keep my feet sufficiently hydrated... even though the doctors tell me that it is not related to my previous treatments.
I couldn't find a specific body cream, in fact I couldn't stand the contact of the cold product on the body... it's a shame for someone who worked in the cosmetics field at the time!
There were certainly very good products but the cosmetic budget was very substantial because you had to apply them several times a day and buy quality products. The only saving came from the shampoo and the hairdresser ;-)
To do a little sport, I chose a physiotherapist a 30-minute walk from my home in the neighboring town. This allowed me to get some fresh air on foot or by bike and not meet people from the neighborhood. I went there 2 to 3 times a week at first. It was a great moment for me, a good diversion. I stopped going to the gym until I got my hair back and started dancing.
I continue to have my arm massaged once a week and my physiotherapist has truly become a friend and has always been there to listen to my joys and my sorrows…
Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? what did you do to counter it?
Obviously the way others look at it changes, chemo changes your skin tone, your hair changes even if the wigs are well made, I felt uncomfortable. I made a lot of effort to take the RER every day I went to work, but it was important for me to check that people weren't looking at me, because they saw me as different. Going unnoticed in the crowd reassured me.
What are the nugget phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?
I don't prefer to remember those words that hurt me, I mostly thought that it was clumsiness and that it was their own anguish that came out.
I protected myself from these people by distancing them and learned to tell those closest to me that their words were inappropriate.
Admitting that it hurts also means gaining self-confidence and daring to be yourself. No need for arrogance, just say what hurts and possibly explain.
Those around you have no more keys than you to know how to react. You just have to relearn new codes and not pretend and say “not even bad”.
Today, there is still a moment that annoys me, it is during the annual mom where I am tirelessly asked if there has been breast cancer in the family, if I have had children and if I breastfed them. Honestly, what's the use for them? Statistics? I would like to see them….It doesn't add anything to the diagnosis… I think I'm going to boycott the answers this year.
How did your loved ones support you?
And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?
At the time my husband was very attentive, but I knew that this fight was mine, no one could do it for me.
I looked at my children with another perspective and I valued all the moments we could share. The idea was to live as close as possible to what we lived before.
Looking back, maybe we didn't talk about it enough. Well, we talked about it in the beginning but over time I may not have provoked a situation for them to express themselves if they wanted to.
They learned new codes, respected my fatigue, helped me carry the shopping, knocked on the door before entering at an age where children don't have these concerns. They were 7 and 10 years old.
What would be the useful (internet) links that helped you during K?
I didn't join the forums at the time, I wasn't on social networks. Reading about the suffering of other women didn't help me, but I understood that we could go through that.
I needed to see real people in front of me.
What I really missed was the tips for cosmetics, beauty treatments, and lingerie when I was doing everything not to be sick. Girls like “MEME” are a godsend for these women, if they decide to sell their products outside of the “patient” locations…
What has the K changed in your life…?
(for example: your vision of the world, your priorities, your essentials, refocusing those around you, in your work, your philosophy..?)
The taste of life completely changed and I adapted to it little by little by making this challenge a little more important every day. Obviously this does not remove moments of doubt, but it forces us to get to the point and for that it is a good thing. I can say this because it's been 11 years and I'm fine...
Did this ordeal push you to change your life? (with new projects, changes in your life?)
My view of myself changed, I had to accept this body and above all I had to accept taking charge of my life, it came naturally. I no longer had to be an “enabler” for others but be myself. Being face to face with yourself is not easy every day!
Free field ;)
tell us what you want (which may not have been in my questions):
I often thought about how I could help, give, share. Through my job (responsible for cosmetic effectiveness evaluation studies) I have always listened to others and particularly women, and I wanted to provide them with something to allow them to feel beautiful.
Today, I feel strong enough to carry out a project that has been close to my heart for a long time. I created a lingerie brand for all those women who have had their breasts abused. It's the best experience I've had and I just want to show them that it's possible to have fun.
To discover Corinne’s beautiful project: “NeoSensuelle” click on the links below:
Thank you again for your testimony and for sharing your K/tips ;)
Lots of nice positive thoughts
See you soon