Despite our medical teams’ best efforts when treating us for breast cancer, there is no way they are able to communicate everything we need to know as patients. In fact, the blow of a breast cancer diagnosis is so emotionally charged, even if we were told every nuance of what to expect throughout and recovering from treatment, our brains would probably not be able to process it all. That being said, it does not make it any easier when we discover side effects from treatment that add to the physical and emotional hardships this disease causes.
We have probably all heard how our lives flash before our eyes like a movie reel in the moments before we die. Going through intensive breast cancer treatment and being one of the lucky ones in remission has made me think about what my movie will look like when my time comes (hopefully long from now). While I know it will have both happy and sad snapshots, the question that plagues me most is: Will I recognize the happy moments as having “been present and appreciative” when they happened?
Smilow Cancer Hospital for Breast Cancer was the recipient of a second donation from Infinite Strength, to assist patients with the numerous expenses incurred during treatment not covered by insurance.
Roberta Lombardi of Madison, president and founder of Infinite Strength, presented the $53,000 check to Smilow to be used at the main location in New Haven, as well as Smilow’s Cancer Care Centers across the state.
This, combined with the $60,000 presented a year ago, brings the total Infinite Strength donation to $113,000.
I was 49 when I got my diagnosis. Just the word “Cancer” is terrifying and the disease wreaks havoc on you physically and emotionally. My husband and I were planning something special for my 50th birthday. We thought we would take the entire family to Europe. On my 50th birthday, I was recovering from a mastectomy and in chemotherapy treatment. I was bald with no eyelashes or eyebrows. Needless to say, we had no European vacation.
Our second annual An Evening in Pink took place on May 11th at Pine Orchard, and it was a tremendous success and a whole lot of fun!!! Guests feasted, danced and enjoyed bidding against each other during a very jovial live auction which featured paintings, jewelry and vacations. With this event, Infinite Strength will have raised over $100,000.00 for the patients of The Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital in 12 months. Now that is something we should all be proud of!!! Here are some pictures of a very special evening. To all that supported us, a heartfelt THANK YOU! We look forward to next year!
As someone who lost many loved ones to cancer, I always thought on some level I understood the struggle, both physical and emotional that they endured.
And then one day I got the diagnosis: invasive breast cancer. I was 49, a wife and mother to three young daughters. I quickly realized that I understood nothing about what my loved ones endured. I was scared not so much by the thought of a mastectomy and chemo, but about dying. I quickly went into survivor mode and almost existed outside myself. It felt like I watched myself make decisions about treatments, have surgery, go for chemotherapy and lose my hair.
Paxman has been pioneering scalp cooling technology worldwide for over 20 years. Having carried out extensive trials and product development, they have created a cold cap system that is clinically proven, cost-effective and widely embraced by doctors, nurses and patients alike.
When I was going through chemotherapy, scalp cooling was not yet available. Six months later, it became available. Too late for me, but just in time for many others. While a cancer diagnosis inflicts layers of trauma from the physical to the mental to the emotional, it was losing my hair that finally brought me to my knees.
I began to avoid seeing just about everyone and eventually had trouble looking even my husband in the eyes. I felt ugly, and somehow like I was undeserving of being loved. I remember one day I was on the phone with my sister and she was trying to comfort me. She said “ listen, you are alive and your hair will grow back so just be thankful.” What those who have never had their life interrupted by cancer fail to realize is that mourning hair loss is not vanity, and it is not being ungrateful. When you lose your hair to this disease you lose your dignity! And it becomes very easy to start seeing yourself as diminished, and soon, the person you thought you were seems to vanish, because you no longer recognize the face looking back in the mirror.
And so when Infinite Strength began, I knew Scalp Cooling was going to be one of our initiatives. Why? Because insurance coverage for scalp cooling is not yet standard in the United States…sadly! This means that many patients who have the option available to them are unable to take advantage of its benefits due to financial limitations. If you are being treated at Smilow Cancer Hospital or one of its Care Centers around the state in Connecticut, ask your physician about scalp cooling, and the financial assistance available. For those being treated in other hospitals or outside of Connecticut, ask your healthcare provider about assistance available through organizations that are dedicated to helping patients afford this treatment, like The Rapunzel Project. Here are just a few links for more information on scalp cooling:
One moment is all it takes for your life to change. For those of us who have been diagnosed with cancer of any type, we have it burned in our memory the exact second life as we knew it - as we loved it, was no more. For me, it was September 8, 2016 when I went for a biopsy on the lump I had found, and the radiologist told me to “prepare myself”. For those of you that follow Infinite Strength, for those that support us and the work we do, you know my story and how it evolved. But what you may not know is that it has been two and a half years since my diagnosis and I still struggle. Once you end treatment your cancer journey is not “over”, and things don’t get back to “normal”, and I really get aggravated when people make those comments (even tho it is innocent and meant to be helpful).
On Friday, March 8th, Infinite Strength officially joined the Big Y family in their Partners of Hope Campaign. Each year BIG Y has a capital campaign that generates funds from customers and employees of their 70 plus stores throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. Infinite Strength is honored to be a long-term partner with a brand that is synonymous with family and community!
Families and friends gathered on October 13th to have some old fashioned fun at Infinite Strength’s Hoedown. The sun came out just in time for our celebration, and it is safe to say that everyone enjoyed the amazing music provided by Midnight Rodeo, and the tasty BBQ provided by Pig Rig. Our sincere thanks to all that joined us and donated to Infinite Strength. We raised funds and awareness for the patients of the Smilow Breast Center.
An Evening in Pink 2018 was a huge success! We gathered at Pine Orchard Yacht and Country Club and raised $50,000.00 for the patients of the Smilow Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital, Yale New Haven. Thank you to all those that supported our inaugural event!