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In May, 2006, Carolyn Newman was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer.  After chemotherapy, radical bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, radiation and a hysterectomy, Carolyn is cancer free!  With the help of her friends, family and doctors, she became a warrior on a mission to ensure her cancer would never return. 

Just when she thought she was through the rough spots, she was diagnosed with lymphedema in her right arm.  Most women who have had breast surgery, lymph nodes removed and/or radiation are required by their doctors to purchase compression sleeves.  These sleeves come in a very ordinary skin tone color and are specially measured for each woman.  Carolyn and countless other women must wear these compression sleeves for their rest of their lives.

Warrior Wear, Inc.®  is committed to helping make cancer survivors feel and look beautiful.  Arm Candy™, protective fashion wear for compression sleeves was created to simply make the best of a bad situation.

Make the best of every situation

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My dear friends and family, I know it has been a while since my last update and insight about life, cancer, fear and happiness.  Happily, I am doing great.In just a few months, I will hit the 5 year mark since diagnosis. I still fear every ache and pain, but have learned to quell the fear and replace it with good thoughts of longevity,health and love.  That is of course is the goal of any survivor. I can’t help but feel though that every passing illnessor ache or pain could mean the trigger for something far worse…Recurrence. I feel like I spend each day dodging bullets.  Most recently, I have been experiencing pain behind my right ear.An ache that comes and goes, but is localized.  I went to see my fabulous Oncologist, Dr. Alejandra Perez, and she assured me that my blood work, physical exam and overall health were good.  To be on the safe side she ordered a brain MRI. Immediately, I thought the worst and recalled my mother’s breast mets to her brain. 
Was I experiencing the same decline?Had my cancer come back?  Was this it?  I wandered in thought and danced to uncertainty, playing the music of bad scenarios
in my mind, a tango of sorts.  I began to say my goodbyes to my family in my head.

I truly felt the bullet hit this time.

I cried and was not comforted by any logical explanation of the pain in my head.  This unfortunately is what I feel, felt and will probably continue to feel throughout my life.  Yet I know that deep down I have the power to stop these negative thoughts and the ability to stop my cancer from coming back.  I feel spiritually connected to my destiny and sense that I am incredibly blessed to have obtained this AHA moment.  

As I entered the MRI tube, I willed my body, my mind and the MRI to find NOTHING. 
To find nothing (insert joke here) but healthy tissue and a healthy brain.  I thought about doubt as a gift that has added so much meaning to my life and the life of my kids and Steve.Uncertain about the outcome, I went home and was deeply depressed and worried.  At 8 p.m. that same evening, I received a call from Susan,
the best Nurse Practioner, that the Brain MRI showed no signs of tumors. 

THAT phone call was such a relief. I dodged a bullet. 
So what have I learned from all this?  Well, I still have pain behind my ear, so first I need to see a neurologist. 

Life is a constant gift and every day wedodge bullets big and small, lethal, wounding or missing us completely.  My life dance has a new and different rhythm since cancer.
I can’t just hum along anymore..I must be actively aware and ready to spring into action quicker; be more conscious of the bullet. 

I’m still dodging thankfully!
My connection to all of you is so important.  It sustains me.
 
Love, Carolyn
 
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Warrior Woman

I am here.  I am alive, I am healthy and I am happy.  I changed from victim to victor.  I became a warrior.  I faced what seemed to be insurmountable odds, but I took control of the situation in order to survive.

Many doctors, friends and family helped me through the darkest days, the days immediately following diagnosis.  One cancer survivor in particular made me realize it was my responsibility to believe in myself.  Her words resonated in my soul.  "You will live. You simply must believe in yourself!"  These powerful words became my lifeline.  I grabbed the rope and began pulling myself up, hand over hand, until I came out of my black hole of doubt and self-pity.

Winston Churchill wrote.  A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. 

My decision was to find the opportunities in cancer, and live those opportunities with passion.  I guess I belong to that club; no one ever wants to join.  What I know about this club though, is that from the minute you are diagnosed with cancer, your life changes forever.  I believe that what counts most in this life is enjoying what time you have, be it 10 days or 100 years.  I also believe that being a member of this club requires helping your sisters, your mothers, your friends and many other women who are just starting on their journey and introduction to the club they never wanted to join. 

Upon reflection, I realize that a new life for me has emerged.  I summoned the courage to live, turning setbacks into comebacks.  I became my own warrior hero. 

When I was diagnosed with lymphedema in my right arm, once again I needed to summon my warrior mode. I now have to wear a compression sleeve on my arm every day. They are pretty ugly and I felt ugly wearing one.  I knew there had to be an easy way to cover the compression sleeve and that’s why I started a company with my BFF’s Lauren and Jolene, called Warrior Wear Inc.  Our first product is Arm Candy, a protective fashion accessory designed for breast cancer survivors who suffer from lymphedema or chronic arm swelling.  Arm Candy fashion sleeves from Warrior Wear, Inc. are designed to cover unsightly medical compression sleeves that must be worn daily.  We are now selling Arm Candy nationwide and on our website and select boutiques across America.  I am almost always stopped by women who are curious about my sleeves.  I proudly smile and say it’s Arm Candy for women who have lymphedema.  We want to give women  like me something that will make them feel like warriors… beautiful, strong and in control.

I now understand that when you are faced with a tragedy in life, you have a choice: to find the hero within, or to give up.  By choosing to uncover your own courage, strength and determination, you become a role model for others.

Carolyn Newman

President

Warrior Wear, Inc.

www.warriorwear4u.com