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Cancer Issues Author: Elaine Jesmer Last Updated: Jul 7, 2016 - 5:36:25 PM

I’m Hot!…and I’m Bald!: Chemotherapy for Winners

By Elaine Jesmer
Oct 5, 2009 - 6:26:11 PM

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( - "At any given time there are literally hundreds of thousands of people on chemo. And not just cancer patients. Anyone with MS or Rheumatoid Arthritis – anyone who has had an organ transplant and takes anti-rejection meds, is taking chemo. And all we ever hear is what a miserable experience it is. The truth is, there are a lot of people like me, who sailed through chemo with minimal side effects. But people never hear that story. So when my oncologist told me that some people actually turn down treatment out of fear of the side effects, I thought maybe I can do something about that."

She formed a non-profit, I’m Hot and I’m Bald, Inc., to sell the book in quantity to healthcare organizations, so they can give them to their patients. “I didn’t want someone going through such an upheaval in his or her life, to have go to out and buy a book. If they get it when they come in for treatment, it’s free and their provider gets a tax write-off.”

According to Jesmer, chemotherapy is no longer the Darth Vader in the medicine chest. “Some people have a hard time, there’s no question about that,” she says, “but nobody should think that dying is preferable to chemo. Because that’s the real issue. In almost every case, here’s the bottom line: if your medical team says you need chemo and you refuse, you’re cutting your chances to close to zero.

“Chemotherapy just isn’t that difficult to handle anymore. Over the past two decades, drug companies have come up with so many new drugs that target the side effects, that it doesn’t have the same terrible consequences as it did in the past. Many people continue to work, just like I did. If I didn’t tell people I was on chemo, they never would have known. If you lose your hair, wigs are cheap and cute. And when you’re finished with treatment, it grows back. Best of all, you get up off the floor, so to speak, and go on with your life.”

Jesmer’s book targets patients, their families and their caretakers, and offers ways of coping with some of the side effects with techniques that worked for others who went through the process and came out the side.

And about that title? “Well, I happened to have looked good bald. A lot of women do, with the right makeup and some cool earrings. It was an experience I could happily have done without, but I agree with people who say life after chemo is better in a lot of ways, than it was before. I made some changes, focused on what’s really important to me – and kicked cancer’s butt, in the process. You can’t let fear stop you from living.”

“I’m Hot!…and I’m Bald!”: CHEMOTHERAPY FOR WINNERS, by Elaine Jesmer, is available on ($18.95) and Kindle ($9.99).

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