Take the time to treat your spirit with the same diligence as you treat your body.
Through my battle with breast cancer, I overcame many obstacles. In the past 3 years since my diagnosis, I have learned that the mental obstacles were just as challenging to overcome as the physical obstacles.
Many of the treatments and surgeries I underwent left me feeling like only a shadow of my “pre-cancer” self. In what felt like a split second, I lost many of the physical traits that gave me confidence — my long hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, and youthful skin.
I also lost the feeling of security in my own body that can be hard to understand for someone who has not gone through such a health crisis.
It has taken hard work, but over time, I have identified specific strategies that have helped me to boost my confidence when going through chemotherapy and in my life beyond cancer.
I made a habit of covering my mirrors with empowering quotes, passages, and words of hope throughout treatment.
When I looked in the mirror, my eye would be drawn to these empowering messages and not my bald head.
I don’t mean wearing a full suit or gown for chemo — unless that’s your power move!
Your body changes a lot during treatment. You may gain or lose weight and go through other physical changes.
Trying to force pre-cancer clothes that no longer fit you properly to work can leave you feeling uncomfortable and unconfident.
Invest in a few new pieces that make you look and feel like the superstar you are.
Rocking a bald head can be empowering, but it can also be scary.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles until you find what makes you feel your best. Maybe it’s a hat or beanie, maybe you’re a wig person, maybe you love a beautiful head wrap, or maybe bald is best for you.
Many hospitals and cancer organizations even offer financial assistance programs to help you get low- or no-cost head accessories.
I lost all of my eyebrow hair during chemo, and it was really hard on me.
After way too many failed attempts at penciling in my eyebrows, I decided to take a professional makeup lesson and was wowed by the results. I even learned how to apply false eyelashes.
It wasn’t a beauty routine I committed to every day, but it helped me feel more like my “old self” for special occasions.
If makeup is something that speaks to you, be sure to check out Sephora’s Classes for Confidence, which are makeup classes just for cancer warriors.
Journaling was another powerful tool in boosting my confidence.
There’s something cathartic about the release that comes from writing down all of your fears and worries.
By putting pen to paper, I felt like those stressors no longer held power over me. The more I wrote, the better I felt.
This was a tip given to me by one of my infusion nurses and I still do it to this day. She recommended choosing one or two outfits to be your “power uniform.”
When you put on that outfit, your brain knows it’s time to fight.
My power uniform? Leggings, a pink sweatshirt, and Uggs. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Self-care is not selfish.
Developing a routine that specifically addressed my chemo side effects really helped to boost my confidence throughout treatment.
I suffered from really dry skin, especially on my hands and feet, so I’d dedicate the time to apply a deep moisturizing treatment every night.
I also started getting monthly facials to soothe my skin irritation from chemo and, after I finished chemo, started getting regular massages to help with my constant muscle aches and joint pains.
At the end of the day, facing a cancer diagnosis is a life-altering experience. It’s completely normal and valid to experience feelings of anxiety and to struggle with your self-confidence.
Take the time to treat your spirit with the same diligence as you treat your body through your cancer fight.
Alex is a breast cancer survivor and a passionate advocate for women’s health and wellness. After her diagnosis at age 24, she felt compelled to share her story with a worldwide audience in hopes of being a resource and friend to fellow cancer warriors.
Alex continues to be an outspoken advocate for young adult cancer fighters. Outside of her cancer advocacy work, Alex is an indoor cycling instructor, works in luxury brand marketing, and loves to travel. She lives in Kansas City with her husband, Timmy, and their Toy Australian Shepherd pup, Renegade.