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We Can Choose How We Face Cancer

by Laura FosterPatient, Breast CancerOctober 5, 2020View more posts from Laura Foster

Affected either directly or indirectly by diseases or treatments of diseases that ultimately cause us to lose our hair. We don’t choose this. But, we can choose how we face cancer.

As I learned from a heroic young man, Zach Sobiech, who was taken from this world way too soon, “We can choose to embrace every day with hope and joy.” While Zach was a teenager living with osteosarcoma, he inspired millions to embrace this philosophy in life.

My goal of embracing life with hope and joy was put to the test when I received my own cancer diagnosis. My world turned upside down instantly. No, I didn’t embrace this with hope and joy. Nobody does. But eventually the numbness and disbelief eased a little, along with some of the fear and anxiety.

I began taking steps toward facing this with peace and courage. That was my goal. I knew that although fear and anxiety, anger and sadness are all normal responses, there are proven health benefits of having positive, brave, go-get-‘em feelings to work along with treatment to kick cancer’s butt. The problem was, as many can relate, how do I possibly move past the immense numbness, disbelief, fear, anger, sadness?

One of many things I tried was hypnosis. Not cluck like a chicken up on stage hypnosis, but life changing, thought transforming hypnosis. I have to admit my goal sounded almost impossible considering the anxiety and fear I was feeling as chemo drew near. But, if Zach could embrace every day with hope and joy, I could hold on to that too while facing this with peace and courage.

During my hypnosis process, the color blue naturally became my main trigger color for this, which is why my shop’s identity color is blue.

Backtrack to 2018. My mom, daughter, and I booked a three generation girl’s cruise scheduled for January, 2020. We were having fun shopping and planning for this cruise for two years! Then came my cancer diagnosis. Our cruise was scheduled right in the middle of chemo treatments. I considered canceling the trip, but along with a cancer diagnosis comes an increased appreciation for the delicateness of life. I couldn’t take the chance of postponing this cruise knowing that life could throw another curveball our way at any time.

The cruise was already booked, I could eat well in spite of chemo (eating is one of the greatest joys of a cruise!), so we decided we’re GOING!

Envisioning being on a cruise is typically therapeutic. Then, came my vision of being BALD on the cruise. Hmmmm. Time to work on that thought process AGAIN, so I decided to be bald on that cruise with peace and courage and “embrace every day with hope and joy”. I bought a wig, but hated how it felt on my sore, balding scalp. I bought multiple turbans to wear with my cruise outfits… but something was missing. I needed something to coordinate and make my turbans fun to wear. Yes, I said it, “fun to wear”. I have experience in making jewelry, so I began making beads to wear around my turban…like a necklace, but for my head! As I made these, my daughter told me how nice they were and that I should sell them. I thought that was very sweet of her and supportive.

When I wore my turban beads on the cruise, I received numerous compliments on them. One woman I met on the elevator told me she owned a “cancer store” and that she would sell them! What?! I was so flattered by this compliment.

Unfortunately, I didn’t pursue getting her contact information, which I’ve regretted. But it got me thinking, maybe I really should sell these. After all, it made wearing a boring turban much more fun, and I felt good wearing them. I actually choose my outfit for the day based on which turban beads I’m in the mood to wear! Then, deciding which turban and scarf to include to the ensemble adds to the fun. I have also used some of my turban beads as necklaces! They are fun whichever way I decide to wear them.

Then I thought, what if I shared this with others?! Making turban beads for others who may enjoy wearing them as much as I have is a fun motivation. I presented my idea of making and selling turban accessories to my awesome husband, Tim, and my “kids” Kevin (25yo) and Annie (23yo). As always they were so supportive, and encouraged me every step of the way. Enter my Etsy shop, Accessories of Courage!

As I began planning Accessories of Courage, Annie became my partner in this exciting endeavor. She is my photographer, social media builder, idea sifter, co-organizer… buddy.

My hope is to share with you affordable, handmade accessories that make wearing turbans fun!

Peace and courage to you,


Instagram: @accessoriesofcourage
Facebook: Accessories Of Courage
Pinterest: Accessories of Courage
Etsy: AccessoriesOfCourage

All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at

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