Updated: Feb 20, 2018
This photo was taken just a couple weeks before my breast cancer diagnosis. I had no idea how my life would be change.
When I look at this photo, taken by my wonderful friend, Radha Daswani of Radz D. Photography, I see a picture of health. At least that's how I felt. Healthy. Young. Vibrant. But the truth is that I already had triple positive invasive ductal carcinoma, grade 3, stage 2. I just hadn't yet been diagnosed.
The world that was at my fingertips was about to come crashing down around me.
The photoshoot was for my business, Model Makers Group, that I share with my best friend, Cristina Nardozzi Buehrer. After working as professional models for so many years, we decided to start a consulting business to help others get started in the industry. She was visiting Dallas from the Boston area, and we wanted to maximize our time together while she was here. I'm glad we have these photos; it reminds me that looks can be deceiving.
Now as I walk down the street or make eye contact with someone else in traffic, I remember that we never really know the secret challenges that others are facing. This makes me feel more compassion, more understanding and more empathy. At first when I was diagnosed in November of 2017, I didn't want anyone to know and I didn't want to talk about it. It was like my dirty little secret. I felt so betrayed by my body. So confused by what the doctors were telling me which totally contradicted with the way I looked and felt. I looked healthy. I felt healthy. But I was very sick.
While I knew that breast and other cancers ran in my family, I still never really thought it was going to happen to me. To my little family. Yet, I was diligent with my self breast exams and that just might have saved my life. I still have to beat this thing and come out on the other side, but it feels empowering to know that I caught it early. We are embarking on a journey of unknowns, of trials and tribulations yet to be discovered, but we are doing so with grace, strength and hope!