I came across Witney’s health story through Instagram when she tagged her gorgeous Youthphoria Ariel magnetic lashes in a story she posted. In the picture, she wore a gorgeous head wrap that she pulled off so well. I complimented her.
Witney replied “Aww thank you! I just shaved my head last night because my hair was finally falling out from chemo. My lashes have also thinned so I decided to go all out today. They were incredibly easy to put on!”
We connected and I learnt so much more about wonderful Witney. I knew I had to share Witney’s brave yet vulnerable story in hope that it may help someone going through a rough time.
What I love most about the outcome of this connection is that Witney discovered Youthphoria’s charity partner ‘Look good, feel better’ and she’ll be able to benefit from the program which teaches cancer patients how to manage the appearance-related effects of cancer treatment
- Shirley, Youthphoria Beauty Founder
Hi, my name is Witney ( wearing Ariel lashes)
I will be turning 34 on June 23rd, and I am currently going through treatment for stage 2A triple negative breast cancer.
My mum Cheryl had cancer 9 years ago which triggered her to get tested for the BRCA 1 gene mutation as there has been a lot of cancer on her side of the family (her mum died from ovarian cancer). After mum tested positive, me and my identical twin sister Steph, at the age of 26, then got tested and were positive for the gene mutation also.
A few years passed and at the age of 30, Steph found out she had breast cancer. Oddly enough, we all have had tumours in the left breast and in the same spot, and we all have had triple negative breast cancer. Triple negative breast cancer is an aggressive form of breast cancer, rarer than other types. Generally when breast cancer runs in the family I've been told it's not always the same type.
Just to add to the story, my older sister Ennalies was also diagnosed with cervical cancer last year. That means all the women in my immediate family have had cancer within the last 10 years.
My mum and Steph have both been through chemo and double mastectomies and are doing well. Ennalies has also finished treatment and is clear from cancer. Steph even had a baby girl naturally 10 months ago!
As for me, I'm still early in the journey, but I am doing well. I just had my second chemo last week and after losing my hair in clumps in the shower I decided it was time for the shave. This was a decision I had held off from making as I was quite upset about losing my hair. I've never had hair shorter than my chin!
The next day I got ready for work. Having been prepared for the moment I'd lose my hair I popped on my wig, Celine Martine head wrap and my Youthphoria lashes. I felt so fab and had so many compliments. No one knew I was wearing a wig or fake eyelashes! The eyelashes were so easy to put on too, I couldn't believe it! I'm not even that great with makeup. I have bought a few Celine Martine head Wraps and you can wear them in so many different ways. I'm actually excited to experiment with my look over the coming months.
I love powerlifting and I'm still training 3 days a week. I'm listening to my body though and have adjusted my workouts accordingly by lowering the weights or taking extra breaks between sets.
I find eating lots of veggies, drinking lots of water, resting when needed has helped me get through the days where I'm nauseated or extremely tired, which luckily is only the first 5 days after chemo.
The one thing I'm still trying to work out is hunger. If anyone else is going through chemo and has this, there are no words! The first few days after chemo all I want to do is eat, eat, eat.
My friends set up a GoFundMe which has really helped to support me through this time. I'm single and live alone, so the support from others has really kept my spirits up. Some people have cooked me food, some people have sent me flowers or just sent me messages and kept in touch. I've never felt more supported in my entire life.
I think keeping a regular routine has helped too, as I'm still working full time (I work in IT) and I have only taken a small amount of time off for appointments.
Everyone is surprised at how well I'm handling it all. I just think that there are certain things we can't control in life, so may as well do our best with what we've been given! My favourite quote is "Don't seek to control others. Seek to gain greater self control. Master yourself" and I loved the book from Mark Manson - The Subtle Art of not giving a f*ck , which I think sums up my attitude.
I don't want people to think I'm invincible, I'm just a regular person. Of course I've experienced the good, bad and in between.
I've cried, I've had insomnia, nausea, headaches, constipation, bloating, fatigue, pain, anxiety. I talk to my support people about everything, but I choose to focus on the positives as that is what will help me get through harder times.
It's okay to feel however you feel. We all have to work through things in life. I want to show people that you can go through a tough time and still be you, caring, funny, happy - a total superwoman. It doesn't have to break you, it can make you stronger.
I have 2 sessions left of my current chemo, which I have fortnightly, then I will have a different type of chemo weekly for 12 sessions.
After that will be my surgery!
It's still a long way to go, but I'm hoping that I can keep living my normal life throughout this journey. I like to give everything a go in life and I like to make friends everywhere I go. Going through this now has encouraged me to keep doing what I'm doing, try new things and reach out and connect with more and more people.
The thing I'm looking forward to doing the most is getting back out and 4wding. A lot of the 4wding tracks have just closed for winter, so hopefully by the time my treatment is over I'm back out there on the muddy tracks!
My advice for anyone in a similar boat, there's nothing wrong with asking for help. Support will help get you through. You may lose your hair but your identity goes beyond that and in this day and age there are so many tricks (magnetic lashes, wigs, headwear, make up) we can do to still look and feel like ourselves!