A Woman First, A Cancer Patient Second

by Meryl Wecksler • More.com Member { View Profile }

Born and bred in Brooklyn, I was single and leading the high life in New York City, working in my dream job as a film publicist for Paramunt Pictures.  After enduring the dating scene in Manhattan and living in a studio apartment for nineteen years, I had an epiphany one day that I needed to change my life.

I decided to move to Los Angeles even though I had no job prospects and didn’t know a soul out there.   I never resumed my film career after I arrived but did find a terrific guy instead, getting married for the first time at age 45.   Life was going along swimmingly when out of the blue, I was diagnosed at age 50 with stage 2 lobular breast cancer.   I was panic-stricken but realized very quickly I could get through this ordeal because I had lots of love and support from family and friends.   I underwent my double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, losing my breasts and my hair but never my sense of humor and sense of style.

I suddenly began to see the world from a totally different and much better perspective.   All of those trivial things that seemed so important really weren’t when compared with your health.   When I was feeling better, I just knew I had to give back to other women with cancer because I felt so blessed.  With another survivor, we founded Bosom Buddies, a one-on-one breast cancer support group.  Who knew having cancer could be such fun?  We met other incredible women, had lunches, went shopping, shared our stories and made lifelong friends.   Providing emotional support (and comic relief) for other cancer patients seemed to be my newfound métier.

 I had always taken extra special care to look my best going through my cancer treatment.  I knew how important feeling positive about your appearance was during this time to your self-esteem and recovery.  This knowledge led me to take the next step and form a 501©(3) public charity that I named Makeup Matters.   It is a program designed for women with any type of cancer to receive a complimentary morning of professional makeovers and enjoy themselves with other women who are in similar circumstances.

 I know firsthand that when you are diagnosed with cancer your whole life changes in an instant and suddenly you are a cancer patient and not the fabulous woman you were a moment ago.  I intend to make my small contribution to the battle against cancer in the only way that this happy and healthy transplanted New Yorker knows how.

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