ITW n°74: Viviane - K breast fighter.
today the luminous Viviane, 47 years old, passionate about beauty since she was 25, tells us about her fight against Breast K from which she has been in remission since 2011. Viviane lives in Brussels, and created Chaqueic : "first my story, that of a professional in cosmetics and perfumery who had to fight against cancer. Who, with her husband, had to navigate the myriad of information that exists on the subject. Who decided to create a platform that deals with well-being as a whole, whether or not one is confronted with illness. Eachic thus brings together (preventative) advice, a space for listening and dialogue, good addresses, care products meeting specific needs due to illness but also products combining beauty and health intended for each of us." and all made in Belgium :)
(testimony sent on April 3, 2016*)
Very nice discovery, full of valuable advice.
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Viviane
Age: 47 years old
Profession: Founder Chaqueic
Where do you live: Center of Brussels
Why do you agree to share your story today?
When we have gone through the “facing cancer” phase and we have discovered everything that we have been missing, we cannot close our eyes and turn the page without thinking about taking action to help other people. It becomes a responsible and useful act for the well-being of others.
What are your qualities (in a few words)?
My qualities are my life values which have always been faithful to me and allowed me to move forward positively and give strength in the face of life's obstacles.
Sharing, altruism, listening to others, my optimism and my very assertive side.
What are your passions (in a few words)?
The world of cosmetics born during a student job, 25 years ago
Philosophy, I love Plato “The Myth of the Cave” and Deleuze “A Thousand Plateaus”
Opera because it is a true spectacle of the facets of the human being, both lyrical, comic and dramatic. An exhibition of the soul.
What K (what cancer - grade if you wish / stage ditto):
A raging cancer, Hormone-dependent grade 3. (I had 3 months if the treatment didn't work).
When was it discovered? How old were you ?
Discovered in 2011 at age 42.
Under what circumstances was it discovered?
One morning, I spread my body cream on my body and as it passed over my left breast, I felt a very small lump. I waited 3 to 4 days of total uncertainty, hoping that it was just a swollen lymph node before daring to make an appointment with the doctor. My loved ones pushed me and actually made my appointment for me. And yes, fear paralyzes…
If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?)
Remission: November 2011 until August 2016
I am currently still in remission and undergoing hormone therapy treatment.
I was impatiently ending the month of August this year but this week (Tuesday) during a bi-annual check-up results visit, I learned that I was receptive to the BVCR2 gene and therefore I must continue my hormone therapy with the consequences that this implies on the body and some news that I am still in shock: I have been recommended a total mastectomy. And there it is, I who have reached the end to turn the page, I must recondition myself mentally, conquer my fears and go through all the stages and cra-cra moments that this operation involves.
Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ?
My story can be found on my Eachic website, this way!
What treatment did you have?
chemo: if you have had it: (name of cocktails / number of sessions)
6 Fac chemotherapy (fek) x3 and taxotere x3
radiotherapy: if you have had it: (number of sessions):
total 33 sessions
operation if you have had one (how long were you hospitalized):
port of the cath port, operation of the ovaries, after chemo tumorectopia
Removal of sentinel lymph nodes (left side)
and in the coming months of this year total mastectomy and reconstruction
Hormone therapy: – Femara for 3 years and ongoing Novaldex….
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 ;))?
1/ chemo: (ex: your tips, the helmet, your affinities with nurses):
Definitely wear the icy mittens.
Drink as much as possible before and during chemo because this can prevent kidney problems afterwards.
For a pasty tongue and to prevent canker sores, prepare freshly squeezed lemon ice cubes or also suck on mint mints.
Use care for the skin, nails, mouth care, etc. as early as possible and preferably as natural as possible to channel the impact of side effects.
How did you live the day before, the same day, the days after chemo?
and what were your tips?
Don't think, go ahead - tell yourself that this injected poison is made to kill cancer cells and allow us to escape. I also always think that if I get through it, I would not have any after-effects such as loss of mobility, a limb and therefore all my chances of resuming my life like everyone else.
2/ hospital: (e.g. contact with nurses / doc / caregivers):
Well, I missed out at the start of the course so left with very little information. Yes, just a bag with address books of wigmakers (impersonal), a video of 2 women who have completed the “cancer” journey which I have never watched. The reason is that I did not want to know what awaited me and the consequences.
I can tell you that during my chemotherapy sessions, the nurses were truly human and understanding and each time they were accompanied by a smile.
3/ “parallel” medicine, if you have done it (what disciplines, what were their benefits) reread my article here :
Acupuncture: to avoid the big arm “and yes with 1 in 10 people in the stats who can have it and well it freaked me out!!!! and also to treat hot flashes caused by menopause.
Homeopathy, osteopathy and physiotherapy. After 2 years of returning to work, my body was completely exhausted and had no more energy. The benefits: goodbye to anxiety, anxieties and I have regained all my self-confidence and a hell of a feeling.
Food supplements: spirulina from Be Life.
Endermology to eliminate water retention, maintain as much as possible my figure which has suffered a lot with taking medication, cortisone and hormone therapy does not make our task easy.
What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?
My passion is work in which I find the source of my personal development. I continued to work at home to keep my commitments and I created concepts such as Chaqueic, a competitive study (for my former job), a Vivent project that I am implementing now. So, creativity is my driving force!!!
My walks in the fresh air with my dog, a Labrador at the time who was a true friend and a great comfort during my “downs”.
I started learning to cook small, more elaborate recipes to fill my days. It forced me to go out and ultimately bring my family some good food to comment on. This allowed us to escape.
Every morning, a life discipline, I gave myself a maximum of three tasks and I learned to accept not succeeding and to be happy to have accomplished at least one. And yes, learn to be more tolerant with yourself. . 1) get up in the morning at the same time as the family, 2) make yourself beautiful, dressed, made up for the eyes of your loved ones and your own (this avoids a depressing look at yourself) 3) take care of the house , live in your house, prepare small meals and of course take the time to plan small lunches, coffee breaks with your friends. Things that we always postpone in active life.
What practical “well-being/beauty” tips can you advise us?
1/ beauty: your essential products (eg: creams, varnishes, scars, oils, etc.) - see the essential kits here!
- well-being: bubble baths in a private institute and body massages (at least once for me).
- Use organic makeup (a concealer to place on shadow areas, a lipstick or balm to protect the lips, an eye and eyebrow pencil and a light eye shadow to place over the entire eyelid, paying particular attention under the eyebrow line
- Use treatments with the most natural properties possible (marine gel with algae from dermobio to avoid skin problems and it can also be applied to the bare scalp + marine collagen for women in menopause + repair gel from Evaux Laboratoires (easy for the whole body” and for the nails the KOH treatments which are with natural and non-carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting ingredients. The varnishes are in very fun and non-toxic colors. For scars, after 4 years of research for the scar of my port in cath, I discovered KELO-Cote in pharmacy.
2/ look, (e.g. your favorite chemo, hospital, every day look to feel good):
Be myself and creative with my look. Dress according to the mood of the day.
3/ daily (e.g. sport, food & co, meditation, reading, etc.)
sport, walking outdoors, dirty
food, everything I like
philosophy and decoration magazine
bargain shopping (shopping for clothes, furniture, etc.)
take the time to “coffee pause” with friends (before I always put it off until later and therefore never had time to enjoy my friends). This is no longer the case today. Whatever happens, I make the appointment at the interview for the next time and nothing can cancel it.
4/ hair problem (eg: did you wear a wig, scarves, hats)
I bought a wig that I only wore for small “social” outings.
The rest of the time, I had fun with scarves and turbans.
Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? What did you do to counter it?
No, I didn't really care about other people's opinions. Only the image of my loved ones matters to me. And I made myself pretty and armed myself with a big smile every day, even the most difficult ones.
What are the “nugget”/footed phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?
I always say: chemotherapy instead of chemotherapy, which annoys my partner.
How did your loved ones support you?
Full of love, my husband has always told me that it is not my hair that he loves but my person and that he is proud of me in the fight.
They looked for anything that could make me lighter (address wigs, turbans and scarves for example. Which was an uphill battle for them – hence the creation of the Chaqueic platform.
My neighbors took me out and came regularly for a coffee break and a laugh between women.
And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?
Live life as usual, give yourself lots of hugs during the downs and above all continue to laugh and smile... Constantly saying that it's a bad moment but that it's not definitive. Life is at the end of the tunnel.
Do you find out about K on the internet?
No, not at the time because it was depressing. My husband informed me of the consequences of taking the taxotere and it really disturbed me.
If so, what would be the useful (internet) links that helped you during K?
Now in Belgium, there is Eachic which is dedicated to patients to avoid any stress and to know what exists and the help they can find. Finally a platform that brings together the right addresses and advice for your well-being.
OR the person, the patient is at the heart of the priorities. He is not in abundance even after his passage in the medical cells.
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..?)
No more time to postpone what my intuition pushes me to achieve even if it puts me in an uncomfortable situation. The only security that exists is your health!!!
Free field ;)
tell us what you want (which might not be in my questions):
The questions are already well developed J
Perhaps useful to ask for the right addresses where people were able to recharge their batteries, find answers to their needs by being taken care of with intimate.
Thank you Viviane, for your valuable advice.
*Many of you send me your testimonies, thank you for your precious trust, for this same reason, the broadcasts of your interviews will sometimes be broadcast in several months, but know that I keep and transmit absolutely ALL the testimonies that are sent to me , Thank you for understanding.
Please note that I do not retouch any Interview, they are completely free, it is your freedom, your story, I just add my personal touch with the illustration, they are delivered as they were sent to me ;)
NEVER GIVE UP!!