October 1, 2017
Dana Dinerman, a breast cancer thriver & Owner of Hulabelle, a brand which helps research products for women, in particular, breast cancer survivors, and also has in the recent past created swimwear and other types of clothing to help women who may seek more coverage after having surgery from a breast cancer diagnosis joins eHealth Radio and the Cancer Information and Health News Channels.
Listen to host Eric Dye & guest Dana Dinerman discuss the following:
- After being diagnosed with breast cancer, did you 100% rely on your doctors?
- When did you realize that you needed to be researching your own path?
- Do you listen to the statistics from the doctors for your life expectancy?
- What examples do you have that show your own decisions might have saved your own life?
Advice/Tip: Always be your own advocate, have faith put control in God's hands and be sure to listen to your doctors but also be sure to do your homework. The doctors want to help but they are not living in your body or walking out the door in your life.
In 2011, I was 34, with a one-year-old son, when I was diagnosed with stage III intraductal carcinoma. The original tumor was only 2cm long, and had reached the majority of my lymph nodes under my right arm. It was a shock, because I have no family history except for a great-aunt on my mother’s side of the family. I was told her story does not count toward my diagnosis, but I feel in some ways it does.
I was a stay-at-home mom, having given up a teaching position at a local high school. While my son was napping, I was trying to wrap my head around the fact that I had cancer. I had this urge to run away, not wanting to look my son in the eyes and say his mommy had cancer.
The day I spoke with doctors about my mastectomy, we drove home feeling drained. I looked out my window and saw a parade of pink as we were driving up our street. I remembered instantly that was the day Susan G. Komen 3-Day walkers made their trek by our house. I got out of the car and ran out into the street flagging down some of the walkers. I remember breathlessly telling them that I was just diagnosed with breast cancer. The moment the words came out of my mouth a group of them wrapped me up into a large hug. They held onto me and allowed me to cry. A couple of them shared their stories with me. Hearing the stories from these ladies gave me some hope.
Needless to say the journey after that was tough. I had to endure six months of the toughest chemo regime that could be given. I remember lying down next to my son’s crib each night asking God to give me five more years so I can see my son go to kindergarten. I did not want to leave my child without a mother.
I was able to take a break before my radiation therapy, and my husband decided to plan a tropical vacation to Hawaii. While shopping for swimsuits, I remember walking into a local boutique and realizing that I could not fit into any of the swimsuits that were available. Before my mastectomy I was able to shop and find something fairly easily. I searched online for swimsuits for women who have had mastectomies. Unfortunately, they were not well designed and were made with poor-quality fabrics. I knew something needed to be done.
I continued to feel uncertain about my cancer diagnosis, constantly worried about it returning. That fall, I faced my first recurrence. My son was two years old at the time, and I knew I needed to be aggressive with my treatment. After many rounds of radiation therapy, I was able to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and walked out the doctor’s office feeling as though a new chapter had begun.
The next three years would be centered on building my swimwear brand, Hulabelle Swimwear. The idea is to give women – like myself – more quality choices when it comes to swimwear.
I would learn how to source material, talk with vendors and crunch numbers. It would take up time that I would normally use to worry about another recurrence. I had the opportunity to meet amazing people while showing the line, and participated in various charities and fundraisers. It was truly a year of growth, until the end of summer when I faced another recurrence.