I am a two-time breast cancer survivor.
It was Memorial Day weekend 2012 when I found a round, tight lump just under the skin on my left breast. It was distinct and hurt to the touch. At first, I thought I’d pulled a muscle, but when it didn’t recede within a week, I called my doctor.
At the hospital during an ultrasound, I remember feeling queasy as I thought, please don’t let this be anything dangerous, like breast cancer. I was 39. I was happy, healthy and hard at work at event production firm, Ward & Ames Special Events.
That day my life was turned upside down. I was diagnosed with two types of breast cancer - invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). After much thought, I made the decision to have a double mastectomy. Thankfully, all nine of the lymph nodes removed were benign.
Late in 2014, only nine months after my last reconstructive surgery, I found another lump, but this time in my left armpit. It, too, was IDC breast cancer. For me, 2015 was a blur of tests, surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and then, finally remission!
During my treatment, I met two women who were distraught over their “new” self-image and worried about keeping up with the responsibilities of both work and family. They were also struggling financially, so purchasing a pricey wig was not an option. I could empathize with their life as a cancer patient and was fortunate to be able to give each woman a wig I had purchased for myself. The transformation in them was profoundly evident, inspiring me to create a non-profit to try and help thousands of women like them struggling to maintain their sense of self.
My experience with cancer has changed me. I have dedicated myself fully to helping extraordinarily brave women in need while on their journey to overcome cancer.
It brings me great personal satisfaction to continue to build the organization and carrying out its mission. WIG OUT heals my soul knowing that I am helping one wig at a time. I hope you will join me.