October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Every Wednesday of the month, we will be highlighting the stories of those who have had their lives affected by breast cancer. These are just 5 stories of 5 exceptional people in a sea of millions. About 1 in 8 U.S. women and roughly 1 in 1,000 U.S. men will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of his/her lifetime; this is one of their stories.
As the CEO and founder of cosmetics line
, Cashmere, a makeup artist and mother, was at the brink of beginning her life as a young professional when Breast Cancer reared its head. After removing lumps, undergoing reconstructive surgery, and slowly gaining her life back, Cashmere was recently informed her cancer returned.
The first lump I found was barely palpable. I remember it giving me so much pain and thinking, ‘how is something so small causing so much discomfort.’ Being a nurse, assessments and self diagnosis had become commonplace to me but quickly assuming I had breast cancer when I found this lump in my right breast seemed to be a bit far fetched. I immediately dismissed that thought with my own reasoning that seemed to bring me immediate peace, ‘why would you have breast cancer silly.’ I went about my life barely noticing that the hardly palpable lump was becoming more prominent. I was outside playing soccer with my daughter when I noticed my bra seemed to not fit properly. Once we finished up our game I was going to shower. Standing in front of the mirror, I noticed that my bra was misplaced on the right.
At first, I thought it was a malfunction of the bra. Then I noticed the lump that had barely been a lump had grown noticeably to about one inch long and 1/2 an inch wide. I also got these sensations that felt like the tip of cigarette burning me. I made an appointment with a breast care center. The doctor said it was nothing to worry about but would remove it to keep me comfortable. He told me it would likely grow back. That was Fall 2010.
By Spring 2011, as promised, it had grown back. It wasn't until January 2012 that I had decided to have it removed again thinking nothing of it, because he said it was nothing to worry about.
I was living in a new state with a new job and a new doctor. The new doctor wouldn't see me without my medical records. I ordered those and fell apart at the mailbox when I read my own records. Just like my new doctor wondered, "why weren't you watched like a hawk?"
At this point there were lumps were throughout both breasts.
My boyfriend said, "Your boob is broken." I said yes. That was the easiest way for us to think about it. Aside from small talk, there were so many thoughts in my mind. He decided to do a lumpectomy on the big lump and one of the other ones since they were the most painful and prominent. We waited for a long while on the pathology report—The wait was terrible.
When the results finally came back he said I had ‘intermediate cancer’ and that he wanted to remove both breasts because watching and monitoring each lump would be hell. For weeks, I couldn't say how I really felt. I was living with my boyfriend and I wondered what he felt about me, how he felt about the fact I was going to have implants, that I wouldn't be able to breast feed if we decided to have children or that he wouldn't be able to have that same intimacy with me. I wondered if it didn’t work with him, how I would even begin explaining this to someone else.
For months following my surgery, I was in a state of fear. They'd removed my 'broken boobs' but I was left in the aftermath. There were people that tried reaching out, but I retreated. A depression followed.
One night, however, God came to me and it felt so good to hear from him for certain. He spoke so loudly and boldly that night. I knew for certain it was Him and understood more than ever what I needed to do.
I fought hard to spread the word. I continued to reach out and help more people, homeless, helpless, cancer stricken, all the while taking out loans to keep my company running. When I found new lumps this year I was upset. I cried, but that fire in me was reignited and I remembered whom I was really fighting for. I am on the Lord’s battlefield.
I am sitting here with drains hanging out of me, with pill bottles all over my bathroom concealed from my 11-year-old daughter, with 10 pillows to prop me up in bed to receive the emails and calls from several doctors. My surgery this past week was much harder than the first for some reason and yesterday felt like death...but today I am so much better. My spirit knows all too well what it feels like to hear from the Lord and I know all too well that giving up is not an option.
My friends all say that I am beautiful but my breasts are gone and I am supposed to be happy with new ones? Everyone is wearing pink but do they know why? Do they really understand do they really check their breasts? We spend so much time trying to teach those who don't even care to check-let's focus this time on the woman whose life must go on despite her diagnosis.
Pledge a Pink Lippie
Before I named
, I began it knowing one thing only—we would always give back even if we had absolutely nothing.
People will pledge a pink lipstick to be given to a breast cancer patient as we shift our efforts from awareness to caring for those who are on the front line with breast cancer. We are providing a small token to cheer them up to give them a hope and something to smile about. Let's make it cool to still love and show support because we never know when we will need it.
This month, we have teamed up with Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles for 'Pledge a Pink Lippie' 2014. Breast Cancer Patients will receive the PINK lippies YOU have purchased for them. It’s a reminder to them that they are beautiful, loved and certainly not fighting alone!
Purchase your link lippie here.