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First breast cancer, then lymphoedema

Christine Raab suffered a double blow: in November 2014 she had to come to grips with a diagnosis of breast cancer. Then, after surgery and chemo, came the second blow: lymphoedema. But the makeup artist didn't let this get her down...

These days she uses her positive attitude to encourage other women in film and audio clips. The cancer was discovered by her husband, who noticed a lump in her breast. After an ultrasound, chest X-ray and biopsy, a diagnosis was made in November 2014. It was not a harmless cyst, as Christine Raab had initially assumed, but actually breast cancer. For the young woman – as for anyone in this situation – it was a shock. The word “chemotherapy” conjured up the typical images in her head: of hair falling out, that she would look sick in some way.

Video message for her friends

At the time, Christine Raab was working as a makeup artist, giving swimming lessons to children, and organising childminding programs at events. A packed calendar that was completely turned on its head by the breast cancer diagnosis and the many medical appointments. To ensure all her acquaintances were equally well informed, Christine Raab made a video there and then, published it on YouTube and shared it on Facebook. On 2 January 2015 the time had arrived – the chemotherapy would start as planned. Every three weeks after that there was a further dose, six doses in total. During the chemo, Christine Raab organised photo shoots with her husband, and went to festivals and concerts, because sitting around and doing nothing was not an option for such an energetic young woman.

The right arm swells

One day – after getting over the chemo – Christine Raab noticed while driving that her right arm had swollen up. It was quickly established that she had developed lymphoedema. What followed was lymphatic drainage, bandaging, and a compression sleeve, which she now wears with great assuredness. She gets it adjusted in the medical supply store when necessary, and it lets her live an everyday life in which she can work as normal. Of course the children sometimes ask what she's got on her arm, and at times she needs to explain what it is during makeup sessions. But Christine Raab is open about her condition and, in many respects, is also a role model and encourager to other sufferers.

Looking attractive despite chemo

Christine Raab started putting on makeup again while still undergoing chemotherapy. It was good for her well-being to look in the mirror and not look so sick anymore. Her bald head was no longer so bad, the eyebrows and lashes were able to be replaced. She also made some videos about this, showed them on YouTube and motivated numerous viewers who were in a similar situation. And now, three years after the diagnosis? The topic of breast cancer is pretty much in the past now for Christine Raab. “I'm doing well, I'm healthy,” she announces happily over the phone. She has decided to only do things that are good for her, has trained to be a yoga teacher, and continues to produce videos and podcasts for her website christine-raab.de. She has also recently started giving yoga lessons to cancer patients. What advice would she give to women with a similar medical history? “Quite simple,” says Christine Raab: “No matter how bad the situation – you should always try to make the best of it!”

Compression sleeves

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is used to decongest tissue and activate lymph drainage. Once no further reduction in the oedema can be achieved, the affected tissue is then compressed with a custom-made compression sleeve – if necessary in combination with a compression glove (e.g. Juzo Expert) – in order to maintain the therapy results.

Christine Raab Portrait
Two women at the sea

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