Finding Ways to Cope During Your Journey
- “Real Housewives of Miami” star Guerdy Abraira, 45, says she is “cancer-free” a few months after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Her emotional journey is the subject of her ongoing storyline on the popular reality show to inspire other women battling the disease.
- One of Abraira’s most emotional stages during her journey was hair loss related to chemotherapy. She said she chose to shave her own head to keep a semblance of control over part of her journey.
- Chemotherapy can cause hair loss. It usually begins about three to four weeks after chemotherapy and continues throughout treatment. Fortunately, your hair usually regrows after treatment concludes.
- If losing your hair is a concern for you ahead of cancer treatment, know you have options like wigs, hats, wraps, and scarves, among other things.
- Abraira discovered her breast cancer early during a routine mammogram. Since then, she’s advocated early detection through regular screenings.
Celebration bells are ringing for “Real Housewives of Miami” star Guerdy Abraira, 45, who says she is “cancer-free” to a roaring applause during a recent show taping. The brave reality TV star was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and chose to share her journey on the popular reality TV show to help inspire other women battling the disease.
View this post on InstagramRead More“Cancer-free! I’m about to ring the radiation bell,” Abraira said in her Instagram clip.
“I’m very excited and so blessed, and I wake up every day counting my blessings,” she added joyfully.
The mother of two described her breast cancer journey as one full of self-discovery.
“It’s been a whirlwind, it’s been a self-discovery of no ending because every time I thought it was going to be one thing, it’s going to be OK, ‘You won’t need chemo,’ look at me I have chemo, no hair,” Abraira told NBC News in Miami during an interview.
Abraira has been very transparent with her cancer journey, from when and how she learned she had cancer throughout treatment and is now entering remission. One of the most emotional parts of her journey was losing her hair.
Chemotherapy can cause hair loss. It usually begins about three to four weeks after beginning chemotherapy and continues throughout treatment. It happens because this treatment targets quickly dividing cells throughout the body. That includes cancer cells but also hair cells.
WATCH: Hair loss during chemotherapy.
Radiation is another treatment that can lead to hair loss if the hair is in the path of the tumor being treated. Radiation for a brain tumor, for example, may cause hair loss on the head.
If losing your hair is a concern for you before cancer treatment, know you have options like wigs, hats, wraps, and more.
“CHEMO STARTS NOW – decided to be proactive and shave it off yesterday before I start treatment and before it falls off,” she wrote in her caption. “Even though this is a hard journey, I’m thankful for everything in my life, including this humbling experience, which is making me even stronger,” Abraira wrote in an Instagram post this past summer.
View this post on Instagram
She added she made the decision to cut her own hair rather than seeing it all fall out because it allowed her to have a semblance of control amid cancer.
“That was the only control I had, everything else you’re being told, okay, here you sit here, you do this, lay down, we have to do another biopsy, stand here, do this,” she added.
This week, Abraira said she will be completing radiation therapy and that there is no evidence of the cancer remaining. If her journey during cancer is any indication of what life after cancer will be like, a safe bet will be cancer advocacy is in the outspoken Housewives’ star future.
“Be aware of yourself and your body. Listen to your body. Make it a priority and make it proactive as well. You have to be selfish, just take care of yourself, if you’re not good enough to take care of others, what good are you?” Abraira said.
Helping Patients Cope with Hair Loss
Guerdy’s Brave Journey
The popular reality TV star learned of her breast cancer while vacationing in St. Barts in the Caribbean this past Spring. Her doctor phoned her to tell her that her mammogram revealed she had breast cancer.
Mammograms are used to screen for breast cancer. Women who haven’t gone through menopause are encouraged to get a mammogram annually between the ages of 45 and 54. If you have experienced menopause, you can get a mammogram every two years.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends women begin screening for breast cancer at age 40. Women should talk with their doctor to learn about their cancer risk and assess when a good time is to start annual mammograms.
“I am lucky that this breast cancer was discovered at an early stage. It is still scary, of course, but I have love and support from those around me, and that alone is the fuel that I need,” she previously wrote in an Instagram post.
Early-stage breast cancer means a small tumor in the breast, but no lymph nodes are affected.
Abraira has since undergone surgery, chemo, and radiation to treat her cancer. She’s continuously credited her family for helping her through her journey.
What To Ask Your Doctor
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may have questions about keeping your strength through treatment. Here are a few questions to help you begin the conversation with your doctor:
- What treatment will I be receiving?
- What side effects are associated with this treatment?
- Are there steps I can take daily to help minimize these side effects?
- What physical activity routine do you recommend for me during treatment?
- Do you have recommendations for someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy exercise?
- Can you recommend a dietician who can help me with healthy eating tips and weight maintenance?
- I’ve been having trouble sleeping. Do you have any treatment recommendations?