South magazine [82] HEALTH & WELLNESS 2019 - Page 63

A cancer diagnosis changes every- thing, and there’s no “right” way to handle it. Getting through the process of treatment takes many forms. In some cases, it brings a clarity of mind and a commitment to the fight. In others, a retreat from the figurative bat- tle and a singular focus on healing. In others still, a freedom from old beliefs and a push to create, to drive a stake in the ground and reach for it no matter what. Each of these three incredible women forged their own paths through their individual diagnoses. They braved ravaging treatments and monumental changes in the one thing they thought they could trust – their own bodies. Through hair loss and mastectomies, they had to redefine a sense of self-knowledge. They are still defining it. Their journeys all led them to discover what they wanted to do and who they wanted to be. For Kelsey Bucci, Grace Dubose and Karen Miracky, that process of discovery took them to new places in their professional lives — all three started or grew successful businesses while fighting cancer — and we are so grateful they chose us to share their stories. I was shocked at how I still felt like a woman without those things. I wouldn’t have discovered that had I not allowed myself to accept that those changes were coming. - Karen Miracky KE LSEY BUCCI Kelsey Bucci did everything science tells you to do to kill cancer – chemotherapy, radiation, a year of at-home chemo, a bilateral mastectomy. “I nuked my body with everything I possibly could,” she said. Through that process, she learned a lot about what she was putting in, and on, her body. Bucci was diagnosed with stage 2b invasive ductal carcinoma at age 30 one month after moving to Savannah with her husband, who is in the military, and their four kids. She had no family history and no genetic links. “It was definitely a freak mutation for me,” she said. In a new city with few friends, she had trouble finding people in similar situations, so she decided to share her diagnosis and entire journey on her blog, theblogpardonmyfrench.com, and through social media. “It connected me with an entire community of young survivors and fighters with this disease,” Bucci said. “I built a great community of women through social media. They are a huge source of inspiration for life beyond cancer as well.” As she shared the nitty-gritty of treatment on her blog, questions about skincare products kept coming up. During treatment, it’s completely normal to break out in rashes from the chemotherapy and hormone injections. “None of the skincare products I used before seemed to work,” Bucci said. She started to take a very close look at the products and ingredients she was using. “You can buy things that say ‘all-natural,’ SOUTH December | January 2020 61