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I have to admit that how I look on the outside doesn’t always coincide with how I feel on the inside. I know people think confidence may come naturally but I’ve had to work hard to get my sexy back. I was single when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I thought losing my hair initially was a blow to my self esteem but nothing prepares you for losing your breast. Breasts are a big deal for women. I remember literally wishing for boobs during the early years of puberty. Once they blossomed it was like a right of passage to  womanhood, men love them, babies love them and even though having kids can make them lose there perkiness, I would rather have my old boobs back, the implants suck! Yes they really do, they have no feeling whatsoever. I think the only good thing is that they don’t sag, forever perky, which looks great despite having no sensation. So how did I get my sexy back? Was it really gone? or did it just go on a temporary vacay?

 

1. Work on yourself from inside out. You really are what you eat, so changing what you consume helps tremendously. I was never a junk food fan but I would over indulge in certain comfort foods ( ice cream, pasta, baked goods, and way too much coffee).  At first I couldn’t keep anything down due to chemo. The drugs they use during treatment are so toxic, they made me sick.  After treatment, which included chemo, radiation, and a mastectomy I just ate non stop. I didn’t realize that my body wasn’t functioning the way it was before treatment. I haddigestive issues, bloating, and just a feeling of discomfort all the time. I made an appointment with a nutritionist and got to the bottom of why I was feeling sluggish and unmotivated. I started a “clean eating” regimen that has helped me drop the weight and become more energetic.IMG_4018

2. Be your ownbiggest fan.I’m all about team “me” because not everyone is gonna be as encouraging and supportive as you need them to be. I knew that life would not be the same after treatment but I wanted to do whatever it takes to build myself up and “bounce back” to a normal life again. I pushed myself every step of the way to recovery, It was difficult to breathe after taking short walks around the block but I talked myself into taking that walk anyways. I knew I needed to get out my comfort zone. Which is why I got back to blogging. It was easier hiding out in the house instead of socializing. I start my day off with a positive thought, I know that this second chance has been gifted to me and I’m grateful for it.

3. Exercise. At least 3 times a week, then thank me later!  I say this because it’s a proven energy booster, stress reducer, and it helps to stay healthy and active. I use to hate the gym, as a matter of fact I found any and all excuse not to go. I would get a membership, start working out, pay monthly but stop going shortly thereafter. I now think of the gym as more of a ” lifestyle necessity.”  I’m looking forward to trying yoga and meditation next month. It doesn’t have to be a gym, you can try other sports or activities that work for you.

 

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4. Throw on some makeup. I totally cosign the phrase “when you look good, you feel good.” I was a mess during treatment. A big part of me wanted to roll out of bed and sit in that chemo chair for treatment without a care in the world BUT when you have no hair on your head, no eyebrows, or lashes people make it pretty obvious that you look different. They give you this weird, I don’t want to stare at you but I can’t help myself look on their face. Your skin changes during treatment, mine was dry and I had this weird yellow glow. I didn’t look healthy, I lost weight, and I had bags under my eyes because I couldn’t sleep at night. I accepted the bald head because it grew on me after a few months. I was like I’m gonna rock this bald head! I would put on some makeup, draw in my eyebrows, and find a bold lip color to help me feel beautiful. I think after a while people thought my bald head was a style that I intentionally tried out.

5. Treat yourself like royalty. I’m a queen, in my mind..sound conceited? Think of it like this, I don’t wake up every day thinking I’m less of a person because I don’t have what so and so has, that’s for them. What I know is that I’ve been blessed with a second chance at living an amazing life and that’s exactly what I plan on doing. I’ll take a spa day in a heart beat. Any reason to just unwind and release stress and anxiety. I do my own hair but if I didn’t I would have no problem treating myself to the hair or nail salon to be pampered. You don’t stop wanting to feel or look beautiful because the disease invades your life. Don’t stop loving you, Don’t stop wanting anything less than the the best, you deserve it!

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6. Wear what compliments you. I wear the biggest smile everyday! I don’t know what each day may bring so I’m gonna live in the moment. I smile because despite it all, I’m here! Try that smile first, then head to the mall or where ever you shop and pick out something that makes you feel like a million bucks! I bought the dress featured in this post on Etsy  and I love it. It’s fun, flirty, and it accentuates in all the right places. For comfort reasons I can’t wear high heels anymore so I go for platforms or shorter heels. It may not be the latest trend or what everyone else is doing, just make it work for you.

7. Do whatever brings you pleasure.  Your hormones will change and not for the better, I’m currently on Tamoxifen, I nicknamed it the “buzz killer” it literally has my body thinking I’m 30 years older than I am because it blocks estrogen receptors. It’s designed to control and drastically reduce the very thing that fuels my cancer and sexual appetite.  Basically cancer is bad so thumbs up for the drug but sexual appetite is good so a big thumbs down, I hate the side effects. Luckily there are different ways to stimulate and wake up your sexual desires. Listening to music, taking a hot bath, or getting a massage are great starting points.  I will have to elaborate on this subject in another post. *wink

8. Get lots of sleep. This one may seem like a minor thing but I’m a nightmare when I’m tired. I’m moody and easily irritated when I don’t get a good night sleep. I will fall asleep on you while your engaging me in the most important conversation of your life.  I feel more alert and refreshed with enough rest, which helps to shape the rest of the day in a positive way.

 

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photos courtesy of Michelle My Belle

Shelly is the creator and author of It’s Michelle My Belle, a fashion, hair, and beauty blog helping women to celebrate self loveShe always had a love for fashion, makeup, and fashion trends that showcase individual style. After starting a small business  My Belle Accessories selling affordable jewelry in 2010 and becoming a first time mother in 2008, she needed a serious outlet so I decided to start blogging. She blogged to escape the hectic world of corporate America and while being a mother has it’s perks, both are full time jobs. Visit her blog, here.