EMMA ROUTLEY/THE CHRONICLE Andrea Wolf in her shop, Remember the Moon.
SPRINGFIELD – After Andrea Wolf’s rare cancer diagnosis in 2013, she realized the time she had on Earth was finite, so she decided that she wanted to live and experience things in a way she had never done before.
“It just crystalized how important everything is, seeing people and thinking, ‘I may not see you again,’” she said. “I had a lot of parties.”
As someone who has always been positive, Wolf said she wants to help people tap into that with her boutique on Main Street in Springfield – Remember the Moon – which specializes in mastectomy products, wigs and gifts.
“Showing that you can have fun even though this process sucks and is awful,” she said. “There’s lots of love and support.”
Wolf was diagnosed with a rare non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer called Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma that manifested itself with a tumor in her brain. At the time of her diagnosis, she didn’t like her job and thought, “I could be dying, what am I waiting for?”
She left her job to work at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute as a Patient Navigator, where she then became acquainted with Cynthia Crawford of Cynthia’s On Main, who had shared that she was looking to retire.
“The stars aligned for both of us,” Wolf said. She was able to continue doing patient navigation while running the store, which was always something she wanted to do. After her cancer treatment, she moved to Springfield and saw the space, and Remember the Moon opened Oct. 5, 2018.
While prostheses are the shop’s bread and butter, Remember the Moon also sells compression items and wigs, and clients bill their insurance for purchases. Although most of Wolf’s clients are going through cancer, anyone can wear any of the bras or swimsuits – there’s just a pocket inside it for prostheses to be inserted.
Wolf said that they can size women who have had mastectomies or lumpectomies, to women who have different-sized breasts and eventually bras for women with larger breasts who can’t find their sizes anywhere.
Even with wigs, Wolf said that there are many reasons outside of chemotherapy where women lose their hair and visit, but some of her customers are just generally fans of wigs. Someday, her goal is to also incorporate more durable medical equipment but she wants to create a space that “doesn’t feel like you’re going to another doctor’s appointment.”
Wolf’s ultimate goal is to have women come into the shop before they make a surgical decision. Although it’s up to every person to decide for themselves what they want, Wolf wants them to know there are options: staying flat, prostheses or reconstruction. She has seen multiple women go through bad reconstruction surgeries or women who come out of surgery and don’t have everything smooth and flat.
EMMA ROUTLEY/THE CHRONICLE
“I think just education. A lot of women don’t know that prostheses even exist or haven’t seen or touched them,” she said, “and they don’t know how realistic they look.”
There are many rewarding moments at Remember the Moon, but when Wolf can get a patient post-surgery in the right bra and prostheses and see them look in the mirror, “it’s rewarding to see people see themselves,” she explained.
“Wigs too, they just light up,” she said. She relayed the story of a client who came in who was losing her hair for a reason outside of cancer and although her husband didn’t care, she still wanted to have something.
“When she put on a wig she started crying because she hadn’t seen herself like that in so long,” she said.
In the future, Wolf would love to expand to her own house where she can showcase more equipment as well as have a larger, masculine section for the men who come in for compression stockings as well. Creating a comfortable space for clients is of the utmost importance, and it’s seen in the atmosphere as well as in Wolf’s personal touches of sending a welcome letter and creating a dialogue.
“Some start talking and crying, and I often share my story. That makes them feel like I know what I’m doing and then they’re usually very open,” she said. “I want to make an enjoyable experience.”