November 2020 marks three years since my breast cancer diagnosis. In that same month, I worked one of my last modeling jobs before my treatment began. It was for Fed-Ex. In the photo you can see me joyfully taking a package to a store for shipping. This frozen moment in time was, unbeknownst to me, the ultimate foreshadowing. I had no idea that this would be a glimpse into my future. Each time I ship our breast cancer care packages, I am practically skipping and whistling with joy. While in this photo I’m captured with my adorable faux-daughter-for-the-day, I often make my real-life trips with my own adorable children.
At the photoshoot in Dallas, I asked my faux-daughter about her siblings. She shared with me that her older sister has alopecia (an auto-immune disorder that causes hair loss). The moment she revealed this news to me, I cautiously wiped tears from my professionally made-up face because I suddenly felt so foolish for worrying about losing my own hair temporarily. To imagine the difficulty of a child going through that pain was hard to process. But it loosened my lips and encouraged me to share my own story. I told the child actor about my looming chemo and loss of hair. I told her real-life mother who offered some great, comforting wisdom to me. I told the makeup artist who had to fix my face from the tears that were ultimately shed. She told the production team, which later sent me the most amazing care package. To my surprise, one of the producers was a breast cancer survivor. Her kind, hand-written note and gifts touched my heart in a profound way and was part of the reason I felt compelled to start my non-profit. This final photoshoot before my departure onto the cancer treatment wheel was more than a paid booking, it felt more like a send-off party. I ended that season of my life on a high note before the really hard stuff began. It’s been quite a journey, one I hope to never take again, but one that has led me to a greater understanding of joy, purpose and what it means to live.
So here’s to three. Here’s to me. Here’s to the entire village of loved ones, family, friends, clients, strangers, nurses, doctors- everyone who offered love, encouragement and expertise to allow me to mend, heal and become fully restored. Here’s to us.