Breast Cancer Patient Brings Style And Humor To Her Treatment: “Radiation Runway”

Artist Allie Olson got creative with her hospital gowns while undergoing treatment for a rare form of breast cancer. (Photo courtesy of Allie Olson; design by Jennifer Fox/Yahoo Life)

Anyone who’s ever tried to put on a hospital gown knows how tricky it can be. But for artist Allie Olson, who was undergoing treatment for a rare form of breast cancer, it became an opportunity to be creative and find humor in stressful circumstances.

“I once tried to put on a hospital gown before radiation therapy, but it was really confusing,” Olson, who is 40 and lives in Brooklyn, told Yahoo Life. “Instead of being frustrated, I decided to create my own ‘dress’ design.”

Olson says she and the radiation therapists had “a good time laughing” at her stylish hospital gown, so she decided to do it again the next day “and the next day and then committed to doing it every 30 days” of his radiotherapy. “I jokingly called the project Radiation Runway. I loved thinking about Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn giving me their thoughts!

She adds, “Radiation Runway has lifted morale in the waiting room and helped create a community of compassion and fun. Why not keep doing something that brings joy and laughter to a room? Also, I’m an artist, so the idea was a welcome challenge.

Olson photographed each of her outfits and shared a montage of her looks on her Instagram after completing 30 days of radiation therapy. She says the response was “wonderfully kind and uplifting”, with Instagram users calling her “beautiful”, “brilliant” and “chic”. Olson took the selfies in a mirror, which also showed off her vibrant pineapple phone case, which some people thought was an actual pineapple. “People laugh at my pineapple,” she says. “A lot of people don’t realize it’s my phone!”

The outpouring Olson received “makes me happy the video exists,” she said, adding, “It’s fantastic if my experience can help someone else feel encouraged or laugh, especially s he is going through a difficult time. Cancer takes a lot of people, but there are still ways to have fun and celebrate life! »

The experience was a bright spot in her cancer journey, which began in May 2020, when Olson noticed a painful lump in her breast. “It was difficult to go to the doctor because COVID was still in its early stages,” she explained. “The lump kept getting bigger and the pain started interfering with my life.”

A close friend kept encouraging Olson to get it checked out, so she did. “My doctor and I both thought it was a cyst,” she recalls. Months of biopsies, ultrasounds and tests came back as “weird but benign”.

In September 2020, Olson was sent to a breast surgeon who removed 6 centimeters of “dead” tissue from her breast. “A month later, I noticed a new lump in the same area that was growing rapidly and becoming painful again,” Olson says. “We did another ultrasound and biopsy, and the tumor turned out to be malignant this time.”

His doctors immediately formulated a treatment plan, which included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Olson was officially diagnosed with invasive carcinoma with spinal features on February 28, 2021, when she was 39 years old. “It’s a rare type of breast cancer that’s treated as triple-negative breast cancer,” she says. According to the American Cancer Society, triple-negative breast cancer “differs from other types of invasive breast cancer in that it grows and spreads faster, has limited treatment options, and has a poorer prognosis.”

The radiation treatments Olson underwent were “exhausting”. But she shares that ‘people are what kept me going’, from the ‘incredible’ reception from the hospital and radiation therapy staff to the other cancer patients undergoing radiation and sitting in the waiting room with her. every day to “my loving family and friends who have encouraged me to.”

Some of Olson

Some of Olson’s “Radiation Runway” looks, as well as his pineapple phone case. (Photos courtesy of Allie Olson)

Olson shares that her mother, who had breast cancer five years ago, also inspired her. “She stayed positive and humorous through her cancer, so it helped to watch her,” Olson says. “She also gave me advice on what to expect and examples from her own experience.”

The last day of radiation therapy, however, brought a mix of emotions. “I knew from the start that the last day would be tough,” Olson said. “I saw the staff five days a week. They were my social outlet but also people who saved my life.

She adds: “On the last day of delisting, there was also a feeling of ‘Now what?’ I was afraid. What would life be like? Olson says she rested for two weeks and was “nice and gentle with myself,” adding, “Now I’m slowly regaining my strength and going back to art and fun and doing everything. what I like.”

Although his energy levels are even lower than before, Olson shares that it’s been hard not wanting to dive back in and “do it all.” But, she says, “I learned a lot about the importance of rest during cancer. When I feel overwhelmed, I pause now because I know the value of health.

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