I have been blessed with a great family. As a mother I’ve had the privilege of giving birth to a beautiful baby boy. I have the best friends anyone could wish for and am fortunate to have a wonderful career that I love. I work out, eat right, and try to stay healthy in all aspects of my life. As a former NFL Cheerleader and having a career in media, I have had the honor of meeting many talented people. All in all, I have had a very fortunate life.
January 4, 2012…at 36 years old with my 3 month old on my hip, I get the news, Stage 2 breast cancer. I learned quickly that cancer does not care who you are or what you have done. It doesn’t care about your new baby, your great family, or who you’ve met. Cancer doesn’t discriminate, Cancer chose me. It was in this moment that I realized there were only 2 things I could control. One was my attitude and the other was my “what”. I chose to get up every day and put a smile on my face, I chose to be strong and push through each chemotherapy treatment, but most importantly I chose to have a positive attitude with every step I took as I created my new normal. I also chose to search for my “what” through my process. I never asked “why” me, “why” now, instead I searched for “what” is my purpose and “what” can I do to help others going through what I’m going through. I chose to do these things because I had a little boy that needed his mommy, family and friends that I needed to be with, and most of all…I still had a whole lot of living left to do!
In Aug of 2012, after undergoing a Double Mastectomy, I found a need, a need for a bra that could work with my new body from start to finish. I had tubes coming out of my sides but my outer shell remained intact which left me needing a specific garment. I found most bras to be uncomfortable, not practical and unattractive. All of this is what led me to develop Blush Life Apparel which features a bra that is functional, comfortable, and fits any shape. The best part of this is the fabric I’m using to make these bras. This material contains a certified and patented fiber that was developed to care for and protect the skin. Its most important building blocks are the nutrients contained within. It promotes renewal and maintains its biological value. This fiber within the fabric offers a large quantity of vitamins and minerals, which constrains the growth of tumor cells. It relieves redness, reduces inflammation and contributes to the skins healing process. This garment works with all body types as we as women are not human templates.
My greatest inspiration throughout my journey has been my son, Luke. He was only 3 months old when I was diagnosed and he gave me every reason and more to fight harder than ever each day. In times where I started to feel tired, I knew I had to pick myself up for him. He didn’t ask for his mommy to be sick, and while I didn’t have control over my illness, I did have control over my attitude and my actions. I had to be at 100% for him, he deserved that.
My family and my friends are also inspirations to me. I cannot ever express the gratitude that I feel toward everyone that pulled together to help me and carry me through this time. It is overwhelming when I stop and think about each and every person in my life that came together to support me. I am truly blessed in many ways and for these people I will always be grateful.
Advice to new patients:
My advice would be to first do your own research. It is important to have knowledge in your personal medical situation. Make sure you choose a team of physicians that you trust and are comfortable with. This is a marathon, not a sprint. This may sound harsh….but accept the reality of your situation and take control of it. You can’t change your situation, but you can how you deal with it each day. Stay strong, stay positive, 99% of everything is about your attitude. Embrace that each day is a gift from God and what you do with that is your gift back to him.
How I’ve changed:
Life in its purest and simplest form is what Cancer has given to me. I have learned to not let the little things get to me. I appreciate each day at its fullest potential and maximize it as if it were my last. I treasure the small moments like a rainy day, a good laugh or a smile from my son.
What I’m proud of:
I am honored to be a Survivor Speaker for the American Cancer Society at various events around the country. I am also proud to represent the Indianapolis Colts Organization as a former Colts Cheerleader, during the month of October at the Crucial Catch game as part of the NFL’s efforts to support finding a cure against Breast Cancer. I have been featured on game day tickets during the month of October as well as honored on the field during halftime with other survivors. I am also proud to work organizations such as the American Association of Breast Care Professionals and serve on their “Identity Committee”. I am most proud of the Blush Life Apparel Line and how I am able to help others through the continued mission and efforts we established. For every garment sold, a portion goes back to support Cancer Research.
What I wish everyone knew:
“Have Hope…Be Strong…Laugh Loud…Play Hard…Live in each Moment…Smile Often…Dream Big…Remember that you are Loved…and Never Give Up!”