“Who knew cancer would be so much fun?!” remarked my dinner companion.

Ha?!

This statement certainly didn’t come out of nowhere.  It was in response to the stories being told by one absolutely gorgeous 2 time cancer survivor.  Let’s call her Daniella.

Daniella is a 50-year-old single mother of a brilliant 25-year-old man.  She has a killer bod, beautiful face, great hair and cool sense of style.  She has a great nose for haute couture at sale prices.  And, she just, well, glowed.

Man has she had some major set backs in her life.  In addition to a bad divorce which resulted in no child support, she got diagnosed with cancer while pregnant and then the very radiation that killed the cancer is believed to have caused the breast cancer she contracted in her 40’s.  As you can imagine, the damage cancer causes to your professional life, your body, your emotions, and, yes, your looks are no laughing matter.  The weight loss, the baldness, and, in Daniella’s case, the double mastectomy, can cause even the most optimistic person to want to hide forever.

But Daniella took it in stride — no, with gusto.  She got new breasts and some fabulous wigs.  And when her hair grew in, she actually preferred the texture over her previous hair.  She told me that when her hair grew in long enough to color and cut, she actually hated the new color and went back to being bald again.  “Were you petrified when your hair fell out?,” one of us asked.  After all, pre-cancer she had long, wavy hair her whole life.  “Nope, cause I knew it would grow in eventually.”  Here’s a woman with confidence, perspective and attitude.  I loved it!

At the same time I was also floored.  While I’m not one of those women who check and reapply their make-up every few hours, I still obsess over my imperfections.  I could never imagine, and, thankfully, haven’t had the need to imagine, how I would feel if the major outward symbols of womanliness — hair, breasts, skin — were going to change forever.  Daniella is an inspiration.  She didn’t hide from her reality but faced it, bald, head on and found ways to make her self look as beautiful as possible.  And even had fun doing it!

She’s promised to go deal hunting with me and I’m super excited.  Not only am I psyched to walk away with a great new wardrobe for the cost of one Jimmy Choo shoe, but I really look forward to feeding off her amazing energy, outlook and love for beauty.

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