Grandma Eva’s Gingersnaps
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Caribbean Chicken Salad
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Stories from the Book
Diagnosed for the first time in 1990, Kathy remembers, "There wasn't a lot of support available back then." "I chose to surround myself with positive, happy people because I was determined to beat this disease," she says. Kathy underwent a lumpectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and remained cancer-free for twelve years.
Then in 2002, she was diagnosed with another type of breast cancer. "I put on the survivor-mode hat and was determined to press on," Kathy says.
"I think the pinktogether.com web site is a phenomenal tool for people who are just diagnosed and looking for a place to go," she says. To provide hope for others, Kathy posted her story and invited people affected by breast cancer to visit the site. "I want people to feel hopeful, that they are not alone— that there are many survivors pulling for them."
Kathy has also become a resource for breast cancer patients and survivors by turning her own frustration into the inspiration for her business. A year after her bilateral mastectomy, Kathy was trying to find a mastectomy swimsuit in preparation for her son’s wedding in Cancun. "This shouldn’t be that difficult. I can’t be the only woman who's having difficulty finding these things. Someday I'm going to have a facility where woman can go and find the things they need," says Kathy. After five years of envisioning her dream, Kathy's shop, Absolute Dignity, first opened its doors. At Absolute Dignity, women can find wigs, soft headwear, hats, lingerie and compression hosiery, including lymphedema sleeves, and of course, mastectomy swimwear. In addition, as a certified mastectomy fitter and a breast cancer survivor, Kathy is able to skillfully and compassionately assist women in a supportive and empowering way that provides her with great fulfillment. "I've never worked anywhere where you get hugged by every customer that walks out the door," Kathy says joyfully.
"People are generous and loving and supportive, but there is nothing like somebody who is in the same spot as you, who can say, 'It's okay, it's gonna be okay,'" she says. Providing this kind of support and compassion is one of the reasons Maya originally posted her messages on Pink Together. "I want people to see my story and learn about my situation and realize there’s a way to heal. You have to fight. You fight and you win."
Maya admits that accepting support was difficult initially. Accustomed to solving problems on her own, Maya quickly realized this was one situation she couldn’t remedy by herself. "Ask for what you need from others," says Maya. "Let them in. It actually enriches their lives as much as it does yours."
Maya also advises those going through breast cancer treatment to be assertive and informed. Being a survivor has completely changed the way she deals with others. "It's restructured my place on the planet. I’ve been given the chance to stop this from happening to anybody else. I have a purpose."
From the Inside Flap
—Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO, Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Good nutrition is critical when fighting cancer, but treatment often makes eating unpleasant and cooking difficult. Betty Crocker Living with Cancer Cookbook can help. With the guidance and help of oncologists, nutritionists and real cancer survivors, it offers a collection of easy and delicious recipes specially designed for people in treatment. Now, in partnership with the General Mills Pink Together initiative—a community of 500,000 breast cancer survivors and supporters—this new edition adds the personal stories of real survivors to a combination of nourishing recipes and vital health information.