Breakthroughs in science, medical research, and the success of cancer related treatments (including chemotherapy, radiation and surgery), continue to change the meaning of a cancer diagnosis. Still, the physical appearance changes remain unwelcome and often devastating because physical appearance is important to one's mental health.
It was my personal experience that directed me to create the Image Recovery Centers®. As a teenager, I suffered the loss of a sibling to leukemia; then in 1976, cancer struck again when my 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. Although my daughter recovered fully, I saw how cancer and cancer treatment could dramatically alter a person’s appearance and affect one's self-esteem; I saw firsthand how cancer affects the entire family.
Then, more than a decade later, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and suffered the physical and emotional trauma of brain surgery. As I personally witnessed the lack of support, resources and education available to address the altered body image issues which cancer patients experience, I was determined to make a difference, should I survive my ordeal. While undergoing many months of rehabilitation, I began to envision what it would be like for patients to have a team of experts assisting them during this devastating time of their life. This became a PASSION for me.
With my daughter being my greatest inspiration, and with the support of my wonderful family, I began the first hospital-based Image Recovery Center® in 1993. Since that time, I have dedicated my life to helping survivors reclaim their lives by providing the safest services, tools and products available. Because I understand firsthand the mind/body connection to healing and the role that it plays in the process of recovery, I feel that the services made available for survivors at the Image Recovery Centers® play a critical part in helping one regain their quality of life during their battle with cancer and beyond. Having the privilege to have worked with over 20,000 cancer survivors, I have also learned that, although treatment ends, we may continue to face body image issues even though we are cancer free, and survivors continue to seek supportive services because that remains an important part of healing.
In my upcoming blogs you can look for empowering topics that will help you step-by-step through this incredible journey that you face. In the meantime, a very important word in your vocabulary is "HOPE."
I would love to hear from you! To contact me with comments or questions about any blog posts, please email me here.
Quote “Each day we touch someone's life and offer a special kind of support. We consider it a privilege and one that we take very seriously".
Marianne, President and Founder