In 2002 I was diagnosed with the same disease, at the same age, as was my mom. Breast cancer took my mother from me when I was 25 years old. The last year of her life was terrible; her loss embedded an empty feeling inside of me and took a piece of me with her. My kids, PJ and Sondriel, were 14 and 11 years old at the time of my diagnosis and I didn’t want to be taken away from my family the way my mom was taken from me. I had to take charge and be proactive in my own health.
I sought several opinions and under my doctor’s recommendations, I had a bilateral mastectomy and was put on Tamoxifen for 5 years. Taking into consideration my mom’s history, we proceeded with the hopes of completely clearing this disease from my body. I continue to stay on top of my wellness with regular doctors’ visits and am lucky to have family and friends around me. Through it all, my husband Peter and my two kids were my primary caregivers and my source of strength and support.
When I returned to work behind the chair I felt my experience was God’s way of letting me know my role on this planet. I’m alive because I am meant to help my clients and others who are going through, or are affected by, this disease. Having experienced this disease has made me a better hairdresser. I know I can help with the anxiety my clients are going through in their mind, body and with their hair. I have been able to empower my team and show them from a firsthand perspective how to work with their clients and how to be good listeners. Having this fountain of information regarding what to expect, knowing how to be there and how to manage hair and looks during the process has been healing for both me and for those I’ve been able to touch.
Though I made a full recovery, I vowed that my battle against breast cancer would remain ongoing.
My husband Peter and I established Curls for a Cure® because we firmly believe that we can beat breast cancer by helping fund the research that creates new treatments and ultimately finds a cure for this devastating disease. Being inducted into the Cancer Research and Treatment fund Hall of Fame on November 16, 2010 for my support to my clients is a great honor.
This year we are joining together with our partner salons and stylists to spread the word and raise awareness for this important mission.
This month NaturallyCurly has teamed up with Ouidad in the fight against breast cancer. We encourage you to check out our Curls for a Cure page and get involved. Share your story in a blog post, find support in the community, purchase your pink curl extension, answer questions and direct friends to get involved. Together we can fight this disease and work towards a cure.