Time To Recover

What the Doctor Didn’t Order – Helping Women Recover from Cancer in Comfort and Style


Lisa Lurie and Ellen Weiss Kander Co-Founders, Cancer Be Glammed www.CancerBeGlammed.com

Cancer definitely isn’t pretty, but recovery can be, according to Pittsburgh residents Lisa Lurie and Ellen Weiss Kander, co-founders of the newly launched online service CancerBeGlammed.com. Born from their own illnesses and recovery, they believe cancer can be survived in comfort and style, and that a little "glam" on the outside goes a long way towards helping women feel better on the inside.

The idea for Cancer Be Glammed started as a result of Lisa’s personal journey through cancer, treatment and recovery. At 47, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and very quickly, she and her family were launched into a cancer-created free fall. With the clock ticking away the two weeks until her bi-lateral mastectomy, critical decisions had to be made that required urgent doctor visits, insurance company phone calls and masterful planning to insure that one husband and two school-age daughters would be carpooled, fed, comforted and supported while she and they faced a very scary ordeal ahead.

As prepared as she thought she was pre-surgery, it soon became clear that she was unprepared for life, post-surgery. She was what she refers to as the "Three B’s" – bald, breastless and bloated from steroids, with skin that looked like it needed a good pressing. Determined not to let cancer completely rob her of her style and self-esteem, Lurie sought out clothing that flattered her new body. "It’s not about vanity; it’s about holding onto your sense-of-self as much as you can when the sand is constantly shifting under your feet. It’s bad enough to be sick – without having to look sick as well."

While Lisa searched online for clothing and products from the comfort of her bed, good friend Ellen searched the stores. Lisa had turned to Ellen for advice because of Ellen’s own previous experience with illness and the side effects of chemotherapy. The criteria was to find products and clothing that Lisa would want to wear even if she wasn’t sick, but that would be helpful in practical ways while she was. Surprisingly, meeting that criteria proved quite challenging, and made Lisa and Ellen believe that if it was hard for them to find such products, it was hard for other women as well, which is how CancerBeGlammed.com came to be.

To make items easy to find, the site guides women to a variety of carefully researched and hand-picked products from numerous online stores (which offer an even wider selection of products and price points).Items range from attractive post-surgery bras and camisoles, pajamas and other items made from wicking materials to combat hot flashes, beautiful head scarves, clothing and swimwear with sun protection built in, to gifts such as chemo totes and provisions, wellness and skin care. Fashions for the full-figured woman, special seasonal and holiday products are also featured.

In addition to providing women with easy access to stylish, post-operative necessities and niceties, fashion finds, pampering products, gifts and more, Lisa and Ellen wrote the "What The Doctor Didn’t Order," Style Guide, offering fashion and style solutions to counter the side effects of cancer treatment. Their "Recover In Style" Shopping Checklist also highlights items women will need or appreciate during recovery, and both are downloadable from the site for free.

The site also hosts a blog, encouraging women to exchange their own style tips and must-have items, a wide variety of links to cancer-related resources and organizations, and through their the Give a Glam! Program, they will donate five percent of their proceeds to non-profit cancer support organizations. The inaugural beneficiary is Gilda’s Club Western Pennsylvania.

"There’s an intention behind every product on our site," said Ellen. "We hope Cancer be Glammed reduces some of the stress, fatigue and guesswork when it comes to finding stylish products and clothing, for even a small portion of the nearly 740,000 American women* expected to develop some type of cancer this year alone," she added. "We understand what it’s like to go through a scary diagnosis, surgery, treatment and recovery. We found it very reassuring to connect with others who could provide an insider’s perspective for getting through it, and we hope our site can be that resource for women all across the country."

The Web site is the first phase of what Lisa and Ellen anticipate being a multi-faceted company. "We believe there are tremendous opportunities to help women with the non-medical, yet important aspects of treatment and recovery, and have identified many additional venues where we can connect and support them," added Lisa. "We’re very proud of this first step, and look forward to the evolution of the site, as well as the growth of our company."

* American Cancer Society Facts and Figures 2010

This article originally appeared on e-magnify.com

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