Archives for the month of: December, 2013

New Year's Eve fireworks

I got to thinking, many resolutions are made at this time of year and how different they must be according to where you live, how old you are and your state of health. Someone asked me last night if I have a “theme” for next year and I thought it was a fantastic question … I sure do have a theme, as well as some general resolutions. I’m focussing on gratitude but also on living and working from a space of love. Gratitude first of all for my beautiful family, my own good health and the health of said beautiful family (I am reminded daily that this is not something to take for granted). Gratitude for the amazing country that I live in and the safety and opportunities it provides me on a daily basis. Gratitude for all the inspiring people who help me along the way and keep me grounded. And gratitude for all I learn on a daily basis.
I sat and watched the 9pm fireworks at Manly last night with some of my most special friends and was again reminded that I have so much to be grateful for.
Happy New Year, may 2014 bring all that you deserve and more.

I had a very different afternoon on Friday.  I pencilled it into the diary as “bra ladies” because that is exactly what it was, an afternoon of trying on bras.  And not your usual lingerie … post breast cancer surgery bras … post lumpectomy, post mastectomy or post reconstruction.  Post any of the above.

On 27th June 2012 I received an email from the organiser of the Cancer Support Group I attend (Active Women Touched by Cancer, Celebrating Life) saying she’d received an email from a lady called Tina who had cancer treatment and a mastectomy and reconstruction while in her 30s. Tina found that since the reconstruction she couldn’t find pretty and most importantly comfortable bras so she set about designing her own!   She was looking for women willing to talk about their experiences with finding comfortable bras to find out exactly what they liked or didn’t like about what was available, what they wanted to see, where they would buy them from, costings and all the relevant details.  I emailed Tina and said I’d be happy to be involved in any way possible as I knew lots of my ladies struggled to find comfortable bras that didn’t look like they were designed for your great-grandma.

We’ve had numerous email exchanges over the last year and a half.  Tina received her first prototype but was utterly disappointed with it and had to start again.  Bear in mind, this is a personal project, she has no backing or funding at this stage, so a setback like having to start all over was huge.

Here’s what Tina has to say:

Finding a company to produce the bras was a challenge.  The ‘journey’ (that word again) took me virtually via emails and Skype to Europe.  The European company understood my brief and vision.  What I love about working with the company is the beautiful attention to detail, quality, the European touch, the pride in the workmanship.  They have been an absolute pleasure to work with.  I also felt that having the bras made in an European country gave them that extra touch that I was seeking that China was unable to provide.

My design brief was to design lingerie that was European, sexy and fashionable.  The lingerie also had to accommodate the breast form securely and be comfortable to wear.  The pocket had to be in cotton.  Why?  Because most breast cancer treatment (not all) places the woman in menopause.  This means the woman experiences hot flushes and sweats and makes wearing a breast form in a bra with pocket polyester lining uncomfortable.  Cotton lining just seemed logical and it has the properties to absorb moisture and keep the wearer cool.

Which brings us to Friday afternoon.  We had five ladies in my clinic who had been through cancer, plus me. Tina brought along some examples of what was already available on the market for comparison and six designs of her own from two different producers.

The first person to try on had had a lumpectomy and had a “chicken fillet” insert to help fill out the affected side so she popped into the loo and came out to show us how it looked with her insert in.  She loved how it felt, particularly the cotton lining next to her skin – her current bra has a different lining which sometimes makes her feel a bit sticky and sweaty, so cotton was a nice touch.

The next lady who tried on had a double mastectomy and tram flap reconstruction seven months ago and nipple reconstruction a few weeks ago.  She had some swelling still in one breast.  She came out and modelled a different bra but had the same comments on comfort and design.  Great.

The third lady recently had lat dorsi reconstruction about three weeks prior and was also still swollen.  She hadn’t worn a bra in about five years because she couldn’t find any comfortable ones out there.  She had absolutely no inhibitions and whipped her top off and tried the bras on right there – again – in heaven.  She tried them nearly all of them on and was happy each time.

There wasn’t the right size for the fourth lady to try on but by that stage everyone was showing off their scars and ooohing and ahhhing at how good things looked – “wow, you can barely see the scars; wow, you’ve got nipples; wow, look how well you’re moving after such a short time”.  Nothing like a shared experience to bring people together.  I’m sure the laughter was heard for blocks!

We discussed how much everyone would be willing to pay for them – oh, did I mention she’s going to design undies to go along with the bras so you can have a beautiful matching set?  And where you’d buy them from.

Here’s a photo of the three winners of the day:

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Red Fern Lingerie, tina@redfernlingerie.com.au

If you’d like any more information or would like to try on the bras and give your opinion, please contact Tina Doueihi at tina@redfernlingerie.com.au or on 0407 359 751.  Her website http://www.redfernlingerie.com.au will be up and running soon.

A listing in the NLPR is the bees knees in the manual lymphatic drainage world.  For those not in the know, NLPR stands for National Lymphoedema Practitioners Register and it’s a listing on the ALA (Australasian Lymphology Association) website.  Getting a listing on this website is one of the many reasons why I upgraded my skills this year and it has been a process to get there (and I’m not quite there, but almost … I think).  Click here to read about the NLPR on the ALA website.  Professionals, particularly in the oncology world, point patients to the NLPR to find therapists so it is vital to have a listing, it adds credibility to your practice.

On the Monday after I finished my Vodder training I sent off my paperwork to rejoin the ALA (I had let me membership lapse last year).   I had a call from the ALA to give me a refund of part of my membership fee as I had sent in the full amount for a full membership, but as I’m not a physiotherapist I can only be an associate member, silly me, I did know that from years ago but it slipped my mind.  I kept checking to see if my name was listed on the register but after two months I decided to write an email checking to see how long it would take.  As I finished sending my email I received one from my trainer, Jan, who was frustrated that none of us who completed the training had put ourselves on the register.  Isn’t timing amazing?  I quickly forwarded her the email I had just sent and shortly afterwards received a reply from the ALA that pointed out that membership to the ALA and listing on the NLPR were two completely separate things!  Oh, ok.  Not one of the fifteen of us who were eligible to join had worked that out.  Hmm.

So.  I duly filled out the paperwork, attached all the required documentation and paid the additional fee.

And I waited.

And Eureka, on Friday I got a certificate from the ALA confirming my listing on the NLPR!  Yay.  Here it is.  I’m still not up on the website so I presume it will be listed in January (as that is when the certificate is current).  Small steps.

NLPR registration certificate

NLPR registration certificate

Somehow the word itself gives me the heebie-jeebies.  Hmm, does that say something about me?  No comment.

I seem to have a few ladies who are at that special time of their lives … you know the one … too little sleep and too many hot flushes.

Not many people realise that lymphatic drainage can help ease some menopausal symptoms.  Lymph fluid is made up of many different components – immune cells, waste matter, fatty acids and hormones (to name a few) so when you stimulate your lymphatic system you are making sure that everything is working optimally, including the circulation of your hormones.

T came to see me a few weeks ago.  She was recommended by a mutual friend who had a few sessions and found it beneficial on many levels (better sleep, felt lighter, skin looked amazing).  T had come through menopause but was still suffering from night sweats and waking three or four times every night and had the sweats happening throughout the day too.  Sleepytime tea helped a bit but not enough.  She was exercising lots and eating healthily.

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Image courtesy google images

We started the session with her face down so I could clear the nape of her neck, back and particularly the buttocks area.  Then she turned over and I cleared her neck fully, her abdomen superficially and her face (best way to end a treatment, very relaxing).  She floated off the table.

She came in the following week and sat down exclaiming “oh my God”, I felt like I was in an episode of “Friends”.  Secretly I was thinking … oh my God good or oh my god bad?  She said that about once a year she gets a fantastic night’s sleep and it’s heaven.  After the treatment she had three great nights’ sleep!  She was almost jumping off the chair.  I cheekily asked if she’d like the same again … duh!

She came in for her fifth session this week and said that after each session she gets two or three good nights’ sleep and the following nights she still wakes two or three times.  But during the day now she’s only having one flush and when it happens she has to ask herself if it’s because she’s cooking or doing some sort of heat producing activity.

I think lymphatic drainage has become part of her life now.